Strawberries and cream - and rain - are an obvious thoroughly ‘Wimbledon’ experience if you are lucky enough to be at the tournament, but an auction coming up on July 21 gives tennis fans the chance to buy some longer-lasting memories. And they are certainly at the more ‘affordable’ end of the scale judging by the estimates.
A private collection of Wimbledon memorabilia from the old Number 1 Court, Centre Court and the Wimbledon Museum is to be offered in Tennants Auctioneers’ Sporting & Fishing Sale in Leyburn, North Yorkshire.
The saleroom says it includes “unique items, ranging from a collection of bronze numbers removed from court seating in 1996 to signage and posters, signed photographs, and even a net post”.
The vendor was a carpenter at the All-England Club in Wimbledon for 18 years, from 1990-2008, and has “very fond memories of working at the club”.
During extensive renovations in 1997, according to Tennants: “He couldn’t bear to see all of the Wimbledon history that was being removed from the building site discarded, and so he started collecting with permission of the club. When opportunity arose, he would ask players to sign relevant items”.
The vendor says: “I am very sorry to see my collection go, but I no longer have room to house it. I just hope that these unique items find good homes with tennis enthusiasts, who will get as much enjoyment out of them as I have”.
Kegan Harrison, the specialist in charge of the sale, adds: “This collection is unique to the auction market, and therefore estimates are quite difficult to assess ahead of sale. We are hoping the sale will appeal to all tennis and sports fans, as there won’t be another opportunity like this to buy a piece of Wimbledon history from this iconic court.”
So, if you fancy a Wimbledon Court 1 pulley and counterweight for the rain covers (estimated at £50-80), or perhaps three players’ locker doors from Court 1 – signed by John McEnroe, Pete Sampras and Bjorn Borg (estimated at £150-200 each) - keep an eye on Tennants. Although the saleroom does add: “While it can’t be confirmed that the players used these specific lockers, the signatures and doors are authentic.”