Boris Becker
Three-times Wimbledon champion Boris Becker. Auctioneer Wyles Hardy had been instructed to sell items from his collection and is offering them in an 82-lot timed auction this summer. Image: Ipernity via Wikimedia Commons.

Link to licence

Enjoy unlimited access: just £1 for 12 weeks

Subscribe now

The 82-lot timed auction of medals, awards, trophies, rackets, watches and photographs will open to online bidders on June 24 and close on July 11.

The announcement of the sale represents the latest development in a saga that began when the three-times Wimbledon champion was declared bankrupt in June 2017 with a reported debt of over £3m owed to the private bank Arbuthnot Latham & Co.

A court ruling enabled creditors to take hold of Becker’s assets and memorabilia collection. The latter, which was due to be offered in June last year, included items such as a miniature version of Wimbledon’s Renshaw Cup from 1985. The items were being sold ‘on behalf of the trustees in bankruptcy of the estate of Boris Becker’ in a sale conducted by business asset valuer and auctioneer Wyles Hardy & Co.

Items from the Boris Becker auction

A selection of items from the Boris Becker collection. The sale of the collection will now take place this summer.

However, shortly after the bidding for the timed auction had opened, Becker was able to get the sale postponed in the wake of his claim of diplomatic immunity as a sports attaché for an African state.

Applying for a court injunction, Becker’s lawyers claimed his appointment as a diplomat by the Central African Republic (CAR) afforded him protection from any legal claims. They also claimed that the process had targeted the “personal dignity” of their client with the timing of the sale coinciding with Becker appearing on TV as part of the BBC’s Wimbledon coverage.

Damages and costs

Mark Ford, joint trustee to the estate of Boris Becker, said they took the decision to postpone the auction due to the “associated publicity” that “may have deflated potential realisations of the trophies and memorabilia”.

He added: “Our view was that bidders may have experienced uncertainty resulting from the claims asserted by Mr Becker in support of his application. The auction had attracted very substantial bids and, in our experience, had it not been for Mr Becker's intervention, last minute bids would have significantly increased the return for his creditors.”

The trustees instructed their lawyers to “robustly resist” Becker's claims and, five months later, the court ordered that the sale could proceed after Becker formally withdrew his claim.

Becker has also had to undertake to cover the damages and costs associated with the request to postpone the sale. The court also ordered that Mr Becker be liable for the trustees' costs incurred in dealing with the dispute.

The auction next month will include a full-size silver replica of the US Open trophy that Becker won in his only US Open title by beating Ivan Lendl in the 1989 final. Made by Tiffany, it had attracted a £33,100 bid by the time the previous auction was postponed.

One additional lot that will now be offered that was not included in the original sale is Becker’s Tennis Hall of Fame ring.

The auctioneers said a viewing day for interested bidders would take place on July 9.