As most followers of the genre know, auctions of sporting memorabilia are one field where the ‘collectable’ epithet carries equal, or arguably even heavier weight than the ‘antique’ one.
While ancient golf clubs and 1880s football programmes may feature in such events, so does material of much more recent age especially in the case of football memorabilia where shorts, shirts and boots worn by current stars as recently as the previous season also make appearances.
Bonhams & Brooks’ (15/10% buyer’s premium) sale, held on December 18-19 certainly conformed to this vintage/modern mix. It featured amongst its 950-odd entries: a Michael Owen 1998 World Cup Final shirt (£300); a framed presentation montage of autographs and photographs from Manchester United’s Champion’s League Final of 1999 (£380) and a Liverpool Club football autographed by the 2000 squad (£100) as well as a healthy slice of memorabilia from the 1966 World Cup, plenty of football programmes from the 1920s and ’30s and the memento of a much earlier football encounter, pictured.
This is a 1908 Olympic Games gold medal and cup for the football tournament final between Britain and Denmark. The Games were held in London that year and the British team won by 2-0 at the White City Stadium.
As an event that pre-dates the World Cup competition, this has an obvious appeal as an early rarity from international football plus the added bonus of its Olympic cachet.
The 1in (3cm) diameter 18ct gold medal is inscribed Olympic Games 1908 and Winner Association Football, Clyde H Purnell around the rim. The accompanying participant’s cup is plain except for the Union flag embroidered above the peak. They sold for £2500, one of the highest prices of an auction which majored on football but also included a selection of boxing and other sporting memorabilia.