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Why I want Derby to be top of the league for its sports auctions

Posted on 09/10/2019 in Press Coverage

Sport in all its forms is one of my first loves which is why I’ve put in the hours on the training ground to get our specialist sports memorabilia sales competing at Premier League level.

It takes effort, it takes commitment, you win some, you lose some, but in the last two years Hansons has put Derbyshire on the map thanks to its Football in Focus and Sports Memorabilia Auctions.

Being a huge Derby County supporter, a cricket fan and a keen runner, I’ve made it my goal to celebrate sport in all its glory through my work in the auction world. There’s a worldwide market for sports memorabilia, so why shouldn’t Derby, a great footballing city, be at the heart of that?

I may not have the skills of Cristiano Ronaldo on the pitch but in the saleroom my aim is to take Derby and Derbyshire to the top of the league for its sports auctions.

So, what do you have at home that may get bids bouncing into the net? Something relating to Derby County, perhaps, or the late great Brian Clough?

With our next sports memorabilia auction coming up on November 19, I thought it would be good to look back at some auction wins and enjoy a few action replays.

For example, we’ve had success selling matchworn shirts worn by DCFC legends from the club’s 1970s glory days. Lifelong Rams fan Paul Tattershaw fought off competition from phone and internet bidders to buy a shirt worn by 1970s DCFC legend Ron Webster for £1,600. Paul, 49, a maintenance engineer from Hilton, is a keen collector with around 200 Derby County shirts.

On the same theme, a shirt worn by former DCFC star Alan Hinton in the 1971-2 season, when Derby were crowned league champions, sold for £2,600 and a later shirt worn by Kevin Hector made £800. Items relating to historically important seasons often do well at auction. And that goes for any club, not just Derby.

Rarity is, of course, crucial too. In 2018 we were honoured to sell sports memorabilia gathered by the late Gerald Mortimer, Rams correspondent for the Derby Telegraph from 1970 to 2002.

It included a DCFC directors’ minutes book from 1888 – the year the Football League was formed. It was found languishing amid 25 boxes of football memorabilia gathered by Gerald.

Dated February 6, 1888 to June 3, 1889, the minutes book sold to Derby County for £4,000. The club also paid £400 for a DCFC supper card from 1934 commemorating the Jubilee of the club. It was signed by eight players – including club legend Steve Bloomer. Its original estimate was £100-£150.

But our sports sales aren’t just about football. In our last specialist auction, a 1924 Paris Olympic Games gold medal, awarded to Lucy Morton for winning the 200 metres breaststroke, sold for £8,400. Meanwhile, her Olympic Victor’s Vase was contested to £4,600 and her autograph album made £1,150.

We also uncover great finds in neighbouring counties. A gem relating to the early days of Leicester City, originally known as Leicester Fosse, did well. A 9ct gold medal awarded to Harry Thorpe when he played for Leicester Fosse, 'In Commemoration of Promotion to Division 1 of the Football League 1907-8’, sold for £4,000.

Big club finds inevitably soar to success, too. For example, Billy Meredith’s 18ct gold pocket watch, hallmarked Birmingham 1900, 'Presented to W. Meredith Manchester City FC, sold for £3,400.

Rare vintage football programmes – the older the better - can be sought after. An FA Cup semi-final programme relating to a match played by Chelsea and Newcastle United at Huddersfield Town on March 12, 1932 sold for £750.

Just in is a football programme from January 14, 1958 from a match between Manchester United and Red Star of Belgrade, European Cup, second round, first leg. Sadly, the second leg led to the Munich air disaster and the loss of Sir Matt Busby’s babes.

We’re on the hunt for finds for our November 19 sports memorabilia sale so have a look round at home and see what you have kicking around. Entries invited until November 1.

Inevitably, sports-related lots make it into our general sales too. Our October 17-23 Antiques and Collectors Auction gets under way this week and in Friday’s ceramics section I spotted two DCFC 1970s moneyboxes in the shape of a ball and a Ram. With a humble estimate of £20-£40, they could make a couple of junior Rams very happy.

If you have time to spare, do join us at our upcoming sales You can also preview thousands of lots in our October 17-23 auctions on Wednesday (Oct 16), 11am-7pm, at Hansons, Heage Lane, Etwall, Derbyshire, DE65 6LS. On the same day, by appointment only, the Mike Stockwell Tinplate Toys Collection can be previewed. To make an appointment, email [email protected].