Sunday - 20 April 2014

Crump’s cricket sale finds a safe pair of hands

01 October 2006Written by Roland Arkell

In conjunction with the Nottingham-based sporting memorabilia specialists Trevor Vennett-Smith, Dreweatt Neate sold the Keith Crump Collection of Cricket Memorabilia at Donnington Priory on September 26.

Mr Crump, a former Oxfordshire master butcher and active member of the Wootton Bassett Cricket Club until he died in February this year, started his collection with his wife Jean in the mid 1970s. It was unusually narrow in its focus.

Although his first purchase was a rare poster for a game between Tetsworth and High Wycombe in 1850 (a rare artefact now in the Ashmolean Museum), future acquisitions were primarily ceramics, silver and metalwares.

There were, for example, three-dozen pieces of cricketing crested china but very few of the signed bats, balls and ephemera that are traditionally the most emotive and valuable of cricketing memorabilia.

But, remembered here for posterity in a hardback catalogue, the Crump Collection did include some quite iconic collectables.

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Pictured above is a late 18th century creamware jug printed in black with scenes of a cricket match and a horse race. The cricket print entitled Grand Cricket Match Played In Lord's Ground Mary-Le-Bone June 20 And Following Day Between The Earl's Of Winchelsea & Darnley For 1000 Guineas, was engraved and printed by Thomas Fletcher of Shelton, Stoke-on-Trent and is signed accordingly.The match, won by ten wickets by the Earl of Winchelsea's MCC team, was held in 1793. The reverse shows the Oakland Stakes at Ascot.

Although restored, the creamware jug is very rare. Other examples of the cricket print are known, on a creamware mug and a punchbowl on display in the Long Room at Lords. On the day, the jug surpassed its £4000-5000 estimate, selling for £9500.

Keith Crump also owned the full set of the five bronzes of cricketers shown by the sculptor Joseph Durham (1814-1877) at the Royal Academy in 1864.

Individuals or pairs of these figures have come to the market - in fact, three of the series were sold by Graham Budd in London for £12,000 in May this year - but very few entire sets have been seen. The bat held by the 'resting' figure was quite possibly a later addition, but the group made £26,000, against the pre-sale estimate of £20,000-30,000.

Sold at £6800 was a rare set of six pewter cups by James Dixon of Sheffield, each engraved with scenes after Francis Hayman's painting Cricket of 1743. Formerly part of the Rockley Wilson collection and the MCC bicentenary auction of 1987, these were thought to be a special commission c.1840 as Dixon had no record of a large-scale order.

Back among the innumerable ceramics, were many examples of the Doulton cricketing output: both the Lambeth stonewares and the less often seen bone china Black Boy wares. Among the former was a 4in (10cm) high tobacco jar that is one of less than five examples known to exist. The crouching wicketkeeper finial to the lid was restored and there were cracks to two of the relief cricketers but it doubled hopes at £4000.

A Black Boy series vase, titled The Boss was printed with a boy in a red shirt and a floppy hat wearing an umpire's coat and carrying a bat, with a crest reading The All Black Team.

Another of the same form, 51/2in (14cm) high entitled I Wasn't Ready was printed with a boy wearing a red waistcoat walking away from the wicket with a disconsolate look. Both were heavily contested selling at £1200 and £950 respectively.

In total, 438 of the 555 lots were sold for a total of £169,717.The buyer's premium was 17.5%

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