Cricket Memorabilia

The sale of sports memorabilia tends to go hand in hand with the fortunes of the particular sport. When England won the Ashes in 2005 the trade in cricket memorabilia was huge, after quite a number of years of low interest.

In May 2007 Graham Budd Auctions set a new world auction record for a complete set of John Wisden’s Cricketers’ Almanacks that sold for a staggering £120,000. Wisden is considered to be the ‘Bible’ of the sport. It was first published in 1864 and is still going strong and is a unique and comprehensive archive of the game’s history, offering records of results, score cards, reports, essays, features and articles. All that information makes it extremely collectable and it is a must for every serious cricket fan.

In May 2006 Budd sold a fine group of three bronzes of cricketers made by sculptor Joseph Durham (1814-1877) for £12,000.  They had only been valued at £2,000-£3,000, but two collectors continued to outbid each other until one finally threw in the towel.Cricket fans tends to have conservative taste and when it comes to cricket collectables the emphasis is very much on vintage and antique items.  While collectors of football memorabilia tend to go for the modern figures, such as David Beckham, collectors of cricket memorabilia hanker after memorabilia from the ‘golden age’ of cricket.

Lillywhites, the famous sporting goods store at London’s Piccadilly Circus, offered for sale at Budd a collection of seven ‘Golden Age’ cricket bats, used and signed by a group of legendary cricketers, Robert Abel, A E Stoddart, J T Brown, Frank R Mitchell, John Tunnicliffe, David Denton and Ernest Hayes.  The bats had been collected by the store’s founder James Lillywhite, himself a former England cricketer, at the turn of the 19th/20th centuries.  The sale of all seven bats made £6,000 at auction.

Very popular among cricket memorabilia is the collecting of clothing and especially caps and blazers.  The Yorkshire captain Vic Wilson toured Australia with the MCC England test team in 1954-55.  His navy blue MCC blazer detailed with ‘bacon and egg’ trim – orange and yellow being the club’s colours – was bought by a collector for £100.  This illustrates the fact that some nice cricket memorabilia can be had at reasonable prices.  At the end of the 1954-55 Ashes series Wilson was presented with a sourvenir of the tour from opponent Ray Lindwall, the famous Australian fast bowler.  The gift was Lindwall’s baggy green cap.  The distinctive Australian cap is one of the great icons of the sport and much sought after by collectors.  Lindwall’s cap sold for £3,600.

One of the most famous images in the history of cricket was taken by the renowned Edwardian photographer George Beldam and it shows the Australian Victor Trumper playing a flourishing front foot stroke at the Oval.  The original photograph, which was signed by both Beldam and Trumper, sold for £1,000.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *