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AUCTION BLOCK: STADIUM EDITION

For a slice of Maple Leaf Gardens, you need to bid. Getty Images

It's always sad when a beloved old venue shuts its doors forever. Most of us make do with photos and memories of the great games we witnessed, but memorabilia collectors often walk away with something a little more tangible.

Toronto hockey fanatic Jody Dunn picked up his one-of-a-kind Maple Leaf Gardens Raffle Drum at a second-chance auction of items that didn't sell when the venerable arena closed in 2002.

"When you walked in to the Gardens they had people who would come up to you and ask you to buy 50/50 tickets." he says "(However many) tickets they sold you would win half of the total."

The drum might look like a white elephant, but it has its uses. Dunn jokes that he puts his kids' names in the drum along with a slip marked "nobody" to decide who gets allowance each week. He doesn't really want to sell the item, but admits his wife is probably relieved. "When I brought it home, the first thing she said was 'that isn't going anywhere that can be seen'" he says. Imagine if he had brought home the auction item he really wantedthe front-gate turnstile.

Raffle drums aside, one of the most enduring collectibles around is the stadium seat. And who wouldn't want to relive those moments of claustrophobic beer-and-nacho wrangling? Boston-based Ballpark Seats has them in plastic, wood, and pleather, including vintage folding chairs from Comiskey Park, Mile High Stadium, and even Ebbets Field. It's a perfect chance to put your money where your tuchus is. Owner George Tahan has been doing it for years.

At the corporate level, there are companies like Schneider Industries, that get the contracts to auction off hundreds of pieces from stadiums like Tiger Stadium or Busch Stadium. When the Cowboys move, they'll take control of Texas Stadium, and strip it for items to auction.

Auctions, of course, lead to more auctions. And artifacts become allowance.

Some More Pieces of History:

Vince Carter's High School Gym Floor: Wherever in the gym this rectangle of wood came from, Vince probably dunked from there.

Cleveland Municipal Stadium Men's Room Sign: If this doesn't end up in a frat house, we'll be amazed.

Authenticated Shea Stadium Dirt Medallion: How does one authenticate dirt? Do the '86 Mets have to snort it?

Indiana University Assembly Hall Bleacher Seat: Times are tough in Hoosierland. They're even selling the seats.