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Estimated at £50,000-60,000, there were five interested parties on the telephone but it was eventually knocked down to a bidder in the room who was the father of the British buyer who is currently working abroad.

The vendor was BBC TV presenter Nick Hancock, former host of the show They Think It's All Over, who had bought it for £20,000 at Sotheby's Olympia in September 2001.

Known as the Matthews final, the legendary outside-right finally won the cup which had long eluded him in his 21st year as a professional footballer - having previously twice lost in finals (1948 and 1951). The 1953 final was the first televised Cup Final and millions watched as the 'Wizard of Dribble' turned the game as Blackpool came back from being 3-1 down to Bolton Wanderers with 35 minutes remaining to eventually triumph 4-3.

A photograph was taken at the end of the match showing Matthews being held aloft by his teammates and lifting his winners medal to the sky, so that his father in the crowd could see it.

The medal now stands at the top of the all-time list of football medals sold at auction.


Top-selling football medals at auction


  • Sir Stanley Matthews's 1953 F.A. Cup winner's medal - £220,000, Graham Budd, November 2014


  • Nobby Stiles's 1966 World Cup winner's medal - £160,000, Convery Auctions, October 2010


  • Alan Ball's 1966 World Cup winner's medal - £140,000, Christie's South Kensington, May 2005


  • Ray Wilson's 1966 World Cup winner's medal - £136,000, Graham Budd, November 2014


  • George Best's 1968 European Cup winner's medal - £130,000 Bonhams Chester, October 2010


  • Gordon Banks's 1966 World Cup winner's medal - £110,000 Christie's South Kensington, March 2001


World Cup Medals

Also at the Graham Budd sale on November 10-11 was Ray Wilson's 1966 World Cup Winner's Medal which achieved the forth highest price for a football medal. The former England left-back had sold his medal at Christie's South Kensington in March 2002 for £70,000 but it reappeared here estimated at £100,000-120,000.

After drawing a decent bidding competition, it was eventually knocked down at £136,000 to Saracens RFC chairman Nigel Wray, who purchased it for his sporting memorabilia museum (The Priory Collection).

Also at the same sale was Jimmy Greaves's medal which he received in June 2009 along with the rest of the nonplaying members of the England World Cup squad. It sold at £44,000 (est: £30,000-40,000) to a telephone buyer.

ATG's 1966 World Cup Medals sales chart can be downloaded here.


Olympic Games

Outside of the football section, one of the strongest competitions at the Graham Budd sale came for a winner's medal from the first modern Olympic Games at Athens in 1896. The original recipient of the medal was unknown but it came to auction from a vendor who had acquired it in Switzerland.

In the 1896 Olympics the winners were presented with silver medals, while the second-place medals were bronze. Third place brought…nothing. It was only for the 1904 Olympic Games in St Louis when the format of gold, silver and bronze medals first became esablished for first, second and third place.

Precious few medals from the 1896 Athens games have ever been offered at auction. In September 2012 Christie's sold another 1896 silver winners' medal for a mid-estimate £25,000. They were due to be given to the winners of rowing and yachting but the events were cancelled because of rough seas.

This time round, the medal was estimated at £45,000-55,000 but, on the day, the level of bidding easily exceeded this level and the lot was eventually knocked down at £180,000.

The overall hammer total for the sale was £1.15m, the highest ever in the UK for a dedicated sporting memorabilia sale. Graham Budd's previous house-record sale was the £755,000 generated in May 2008.