A Lonsdale Belt awarded to Welsh heavyweight boxing champion Jack Petersen has been stolen from his son’s home.
Only 22 of the belts were ever made but the
theft has come at the same time as a string of recent sales in
which several have come up at auction, including three given to
Petersen (1911-90), who won his belt
outright in 1935 for three victories, had turned professional in
1931 and his successes included the British light-heavyweight and
heavyweight titles. He defended the belt eight times but had to
retire at the age of just 25 because of an eye injury.
His Mappin & Webb belt was taken from
his son John's home in Burnham, Buckinghamshire, sometime between
January and May 13, where it had been kept with other memorabilia
from his illustrious career.
John told the South Wales Echo that
they were waiting for the day when they could donate the belt to a
sports museum in Cardiff, where his father was born and many of the
family still live.
"I sincerely hope that they have not taken
it to somebody who would just melt the thing down for the gold;
that would be a disaster," John told the newspaper.
Investigating officer PC Ian Williams said
it is a National Sporting Heavyweight Championship Belt (Lonsdale
Belt), 9CT gold with enamel plaques. It has previous winners of the
British title engraved on it, including "Bombardier Billy Wells"
and "Jack Petersen".
"It was valued in 2007 by insurers at
£20,000, although it is believed to be worth more than this due to
the link with Petersen," PC Williams added.
The belt was contained within a dark blue
box with a white/cream-coloured silk lining. The box is the length
of the belt and approx 3in (7.5cm) deep.
Henry Cooper's Belts
Two of Cooper's Lonsdale Belts were sold by
Bonhams Chester on February 20 for £10,000 each, while his first
belt had been sold by them a year ago for £40,000. In 2011 Fellow's
of Birmingham sold the 1926 belt awarded to 'Gentleman' Jack Hood
And later this month, on June 19, Bonhams
Chester are offering the belt won by Sergeant Johnny Basham for his
fights in 1914-16 with an estimate of £30,000-35,000.
Anyone with information about the theft of
the Petersen belt should contact Thames Valley Police on the
national 101 phone number and either quote the crime reference
number, GD/4254749/13, or ask to speak PC 56 Ian Williams at Taplow
Local CID. You can also contact Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800