Tuesday, September 15, 2020

Toronto Wrestling Collectibles: What's it Worth?

 
  I have been collecting Maple Leaf stuff for over 40 years. I re-discovered my love of classic Toronto wrestling about 20 years ago and have been collecting, trading, buying and selling Toronto and Canadian items from the 1920s to the 1980s. So, what's it worth?

  All items in Canadian funds unless noted, pics from the maple leaf collection. 

PROGRAMS 

  The Toronto programs ran from the 1930s right through the NWA years with weekly cards for many years. The most highly sought after are those with the recognized champs. Thesz. Rogers. Bruno. Flair.  

The 1930s-1940s can see 20$-100$ depending on content. Anything with Wild Bill Longson, Lou Thesz, Whipper. In that era the programs covered all sports and events at MLG, they weren't wrestling exclusive. 

 The late 1940s-1950s editions featured a pinup style cover with the stars of the day and can go for 20$-100$. Again anything with Thesz or Whip, Buddy Rogers, Gorgeous George, Rocca will run the high end. 

  The 60s programs were a bi-fold style and show up the most. The distinctive red design with Frank Ayerst again handling the content. They would issue a photo each week that sits in the inside back cover. Programs with the photos run higher but these usually go for about 10-20$ due to the amount available. There are many non-issued/new old stock that look as crisp and colorful as they were back in 1963 like the May 1963 at right.. 

 The number one Toronto want for most collectors is the Thesz-Rogers title switch in 1963. I have several around that card but that one hasn't surfaced. Yet. For me it would be the 1956 Whipper title win. There is also the Hutton change in 1957 and the Race win in 1977. 

 With no programs through most of the 70s (including the Race-Funk change) the next are the Strangleholds from 1980-1984. These also hit the market a fair bit, though some are much harder to find than others. Flair Flair Flair. The 50th Anniversary issue Nov 1981 got 135$ US. The early ones harder and more expensive 20-40$. later 10-20$. The 2 outdoor shows at the EX in 1983 can command 30-50$, same for the double World title card in Apr 1982. 

See also Toronto Programs 1930s-1980s

POSTERS 

  Around Toronto and Ontario the Wildman posters are big. From the early 70s through 88 from Ontario to Quebec to the East coast Dave McKigney's classic posters are highly collectible. Over the years I 've had about 40 posters go through the collection. Some are more valuable than others. 

  Generally the Wildman posters move from 50-200$ if in good shape. Anything with The Sheik desirable but the most collectible are the ones with Andre. I have been offered 4 figures for one.  

  Toronto-Tunney also used posters but fewer in number, at least what has surfaced. Ones from the 40s and 50s can get 50-100$. There are a few holy grails in the early days. Thesz vs Rogers is on everyone's wish list. They are in collections but haven't seen them come up for sale, they could command 1000-2000$ or more. The 60s era like those below can fetch 300-900$ even in worn condition. The Thesz-Bruno likely more.

A few from 1963

CLIPPINGS

I have a pretty good scrapbook collection from Toronto and some Quebec and other Canadian spots. Some self maintained and others passed down or bought from other fans. It's very exciting to find a wrestling scrapbook at a flea market. Also very rare. Even on ebay they routinely get 20-200$ for a decent scraps. You sometimes see one ad, a clip out of the paper, 2x4 inches sell for 5-10$. Other times you can pick up a little collection of 10-20 ads from a territory for 20-30$. Toronto clips come up all the time, mostly 70s and 80s era. 

I have had offers in the thousands for certain parts of the collection and have seen a few older collections go online for 200-2000$. If you see a scrapbook that is well done, grab it! And let me know lol!

PHOTOS

Official MLG photographers the Turofsky brothers and their Alexandria Studio also covered wrestling from the early days and into the 1960s with Michael Burns. I have counted about 400 physical photos so far but there are likely lots more. Hundreds more that were used in the papers. Maybe thousands in all. Some are in private collections or need to be paid for to use and most fans will never see them - its unfortunate. I have a pretty good collection of maybe 100 from the 40s and 50s. The Turofsky/Burns can go for 10-50$ each. I found a few at a flea market in Quebec for 3$ each. Other photos from the area such as a good Oshawa lot I picked up for 20$ can be often be found cheap depending on content. 

Fan photos come around a fair bit. From 1-5$ each, more for good sets. As the years go by more fans stuff is surfacing especially from the M-A era and WWF years. Autographed pics go for 10-50$ Bravo and others would be higher. 



TITLE BELTS

The belts are a rarer commodity and harder to price. I have been surprised a few times over what was paid for a territory belt. Others I thought were a steal. The Canadian Heavyweight Title belt held by Bravo, Dewey etc has changed hands once in 20 years. And may never again. Value 5-10k. You can get a great replica of that cast from the original for a lot less. The other belts of the maple leaf world have never come up for sale. The Canadian TV Title belt, the International Tag belts would likely command about the same 5-10k. Dave McKigney's North American Title belt 3-6k. 

The Sheik's US belt? 25-50k or more. The British Empire Title that Whip wore 10-25k.   

North American Heavyweight Title belt
Big Bear promotions 1974-1983

ODDBALLS

Whippers Beverages items from 1948-1951 command good prices. Bottles in mint condition with crisp labels can go 150-500$. Very rare are the Whipper's beverages crates, anywhere from 200-1000$. Whipper branded exercise equipment including hand exercisers, free weights, and boot weights go in the 25-400$ range, a full Whipper weight set got 700$



 A watch inscribed to Whipper when he visited Amarillo as World champ in 1956. 400-800$

Magazines and special editions etc can go for 10-100$. I also collect old newspapers and have found a couple of gems inside an old Star or Telegram I bought for 5$. 

Tickets are also highly collectible. Both the 1970s and up MLG color coded and the old ones. The 1955 below and similar can command 20-200$ The 80s can get 5-20$ each, less in lots. 

In part two we will look at some of the other oddball items, Parkhurst cards, ring worn items, and other great Toronto wrestling collectibles. 

-AC 

*Note the current market and the demand/rarity of an item dictates prices. Private sales can net 2-3-10 times what you may get on e-bay for the same item.