The missing Grey Cup

On today’s date in 1970, police returned the Grey Cup to Canadian Football League (CFL) headquarters after it was recovered from a Toronto hotel locker room — information received from an anonymous tipper.

In 2012, the Royal Canadian Mint (RCM) featured the Grey Cup on a Proof  Fine silver dollar, marking the 100th anniversary of the championship game.

“The Royal Canadian Mint’s latest circulation one-dollar coin offers a unique opportunity to celebrate the 100th Grey Cup and one of Canada’s most exciting annual sporting events,” said Ian Bennett, former president and CEO of the RCM. “Each of the five million 100th Grey Cup circulation coins will be a permanent tribute to the lasting legacy of professional football in Canada.”

Designed by Bensimon Byrne, the dollar features a stylized image of the Grey Cup trophy against a detail from the engraved text on its face. Embossed against this background is the number “100” in celebration of the 100th Grey Cup game, the words “Grey Cup/Coupe Grey”, the face value “CANADA DOLLAR” and the year “2012”.

“This beautiful new one dollar coin is a shining tribute to the Grey Cup’s iconic place in the history, culture and future of Canada,” said CFL commissioner Mark Cohon.

Forty-five years ago, however, the Grey Cup was nowhere to be found.

On the night of December 20, 1969, someone broke into the Lansdowne Park offices of the Ottawa Rough Riders, who had recently won the championship, and stole the Grey Cup from a display case. Oddly enough, the thieves were all but ignored. League officials worried only about its sentimental value, promising a replica in time for the next Grey Cup game, while police just hoped it was a prank and that the pranksters would eventually turn the trophy in.

On Feb. 16, 1970, the Metro Toronto Police received an anonymous tip about a key inside a phone booth at Parliament and Dundas and a locker at the Royal York Hotel, where the Grey Cup was being held. The trophy was retrieved, but the pranksters were never caught.

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