TORONTO, Jan. 15 (UPI) -- A hand-carved hickory stick said to be a 150-year-old precursor to modern hockey sticks will be auctioned next month during the Vancouver Winter Olympics.
The online auction firm VIPthrills.com announced it was offering "the single most important piece of hockey memorabilia in existence" after a Feb. 12-28 viewing in Vancouver in the run-up to the Games, the Canwest News Service reported.
The stick is owned by Gordon Sharpe, of Cobourg, Ontario, who said it was an inheritance from an ancestor who carved it.
The auctioneer claims the stick's historical significance puts it in the $4 million range, although it failed to change hands at a bid as high as $2.2 million in the most recent auction attempt on the eBay online site in 2006.
Sharpe said in a statement announcing the auction potential proceeds wouldn't all be personal profit.
"I realize the sale of the stick could help raise millions for charity," Sharpe said. "I think it's the best thing to do."