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Aron Gratias, a Saskatchewan man who has been building an extensive Wayne Gretzky memorabilia collection for over 40 years, says all of his valued items were stolen from a storage facility. Gratias reported the items stolen in April, after claiming that the locks to one of his two storage containers were selectively cut off, and all his Gretzky merchandise was missing.
Gratias’s collection included 19 signed Gretzky jerseys, several autographed photos and over 2,000 Gretzky trading cards, including an extremely rare rookie card which is valued at $20,000 USD by one card authentication vendor. The entire collection is valued at nearly $100,000 CAD.
"Lots of people have asked me what I thought my collection was worth. To me, it was priceless," Gratias said to CBC News. "A lot of these items won't ever be able to be replaced."
Gratias wrote in a lengthy Facebook post that after recently moving between cities, he discovered that one of his two storage containers had the locks cut off and the items were selectively taken. He says the thief didn't bother taking "some expensive household and garage items."
He became an avid fan of Gretzky and the Edmonton Oilers during the team’s dynastic run in the 1980s, when he was growing up in Saskatoon.
"The collection was a life history of passion," Gratias said. "That was something I enjoyed doing in my time off. I loved showing it off as well. I loved bragging about it."
Gratias also collected hockey memorabilia from several other players, but the vast majority of his collection was dedicated to Gretzky.
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