15-10-01-2210NE04A Knights Auction Norwich.jpg
The 1868 Aboriginal tour belt buckle sold by Knights of Norwich for £3200.

Enjoy unlimited access: just £1 for 12 weeks

Subscribe now

The buckle, found in Warminster, Wiltshire, was offered in a cricket memorabilia sale held on September 12 by Knights (19% buyer's premium) of Norwich, and bought by a UK buyer at £3200.

Having first warmed up with a 'Down Under' tour, the Aboriginal team arrived in England in May 1868, then embarked on a tour that lasted 22 weeks.

During this time they played 47 matches, winning 14 and drawing 18, as well as giving exhibitions of spear and boomerang throwing and demonstrating their prowess in other sports. Their matches proved very popular, with as many as 5000 spectators attending the more important games.

Depicting an Aboriginal cricketer with a bat over his shoulder, from which hang his cricket boots, the buckle also shows, in the background, a cricket tent with flag flying. A laurel leaf border surrounds the image and on a lower panel appears the inscription 'The Aboriginals'.

On the back is a symbol that the auctioneers assume to be the maker's mark and, though very worn, an inscription that appears to read Registered Nov 28th 1866, S&W - but that date could also be 1868.

A similar belt buckle, found in 1951 during a rabbit-shooting expedition near the Kitticola gold mine, some 35 miles north east of Adelaide, was sold in 1995 by coin and medal specialists Noble Auctions of Sydney for Aus$2000 (then £955).


• Other items from the Norwich sale feature in a review of recent sports sales in the Antiquarian Books section of this week's ATG print publication.