Estimated at £2500-3500 on November 5-7 by the Norwich firm, the hallmarked 15ct gold medal by Vaughton & Sons of Birmingham awarded to the 5ft 2½in Frederick ‘Fanny’ Ingram Walden (1888-1949) instead made a hefty £32,000 from a room bidder. It was sold by a descendant of Walden.
It was one of five gold hallmarked medals awarded to Walden offered in this auction.
Tottenham Hotspur player Walden in fact missed the 1921 final through injury, which explains the rarity value of this honour. It was presented to him not at the game but by his club as a member of the team who beat Wolverhampton Wanderers 1-0 (their second FA Cup success).
On the medal’s appeal, Tim Knight from the auction house said: “I feel it was probably the early FA Cup and Spurs connection plus of course it may well have been the only medal presented by the club for the final (so rare in its own right). There are a lot of Spurs collectors out there. Quite a price though –certainly took me by surprise.”
The actual design is similar to an official medal. It features two footballers and a football around a shield featuring the club emblem of a cockerel with Tottenham Hotspur in scrolls below to the obverse and to the verso Winners of the F.A. Cup. F. Walden.
This was the second of three FA Cup finals to be held at Stamford Bridge, Chelsea, and the attendance was 72,805. Walden had played in 23 of the league and cup matches played by Spurs in the 1920-21 season but missed the later part of the cup run, breaking down with a cartilage injury in February.
Walden began his career at Northampton Town under the renowned manager Herbert Chapman. He went to Spurs in 1913, then was reunited with Chapman at Leeds City as a wartime guest player before becoming a Spurs favourite again post-war.
Spurs had been relegated at the end of the 1914-15 season but were promoted back to the First Division as champions at the first attempt after wartime suspension of the league. Walden played in 31 of that 42-game season and scored four goals in league matches.
He won two England caps, with the first against Scotland in 1914, and also played cricket at county level for Northamptonshire between 1910-29.
His first England international medal sold at Knights for £1800 (estimate £1000-1500), his Football League medal v Southern League 1914 took £1800 (£500-700), an England medal v Scotland for a war-time military international in 1916 made £1700 (£300-500) and his Football League Division Two Champions 1919-20 medal sold for £3600 (£1800-2500).
They went to collectors via phone bids.
‘Fanny’ as a nickname at the time is thought to have referred to diminutive stature.