Wednesday, August 29, 2007
Beachcomber rewarded for return of Cup ring
The extraordinary story of the long-lost '67 Stanley Cup ring is much like a fairy tale.
The cast of characters in this three-decade-old tale include Maple Leafs hero Jim Pappin, a good-hearted treasure hunter and a cockatoo named Reno.
And now the story comes complete with a happy ending.
Over the weekend, treasure hunter Mark DesErmia, who found Pappin's missing ring off the coast of Clearwater, Fla., three weeks ago, handed the bauble back. He met with Pappin's friend and former Chicago Black Hawks teammate Lou Angotti at Siesta Key beach in Sarasota, Fla., for the exchange.
"Angotti says it's in great shape, like it just came out of the box," said Pappin, who scored the Cup-winning goal for the Leafs in 1967.
According to DesErmia, Pappin sold a replica Cup ring – the one his former father-in-law Peter Kyrzakos had purchased to replace the original – for "somewhere around $17,000." He said Pappin deducted the commission of the dealer who sold the ring as well as the original price of the replica, which was going back to Kyrzakos' family.
DesErmia would not reveal the exact amount of his reward, but said it was roughly half of what the replica ring sold for. Pappin said the buyer wished to remain anonymous.
"(DesErmia) accepted a lot less than he could have gotten," Pappin said yesterday. "I felt bad about that so I wanted to make sure he got a good deal and was taken care of."
And with the trading of envelopes Pappin has his original Stanley Cup ring and DesErmia has enough reward money to buy a new toy for his sidekick Reno and fix up his home, a 1983 Chevy camper-van.
"It feels great, it really does – I've got a perma-grin on my face," said DesErmia, who found the ring using an underwater metal detector.
He says he has no regrets about his deal with Pappin, even though he turned down more lucrative offers from collectors in order to return the ring to its rightful owner.
"I told everyone that I want to be able to look back on this years from now and feel good about it and know that I did the right thing," the 44-year-old said.
DesErmia's story so touched Star readers that some contacted the paper wanting to send him money for doing the right thing.
"I'm so overwhelmed that people want to do that for me, I don't know what to say," DesErmia said. "I can't believe this has turned into what it has. It's going to be something that I remember for the rest of my life."