AFL legend Polly Farmer items popular at auction

Items belonging to Aboriginal Australian Rules Football legend the late Graham “Polly” Farmer filled eight of the top 10 spots at Abacus Auctions Melbourne sporting and memorabilia sale on Saturday July 25.

While the top priced item was former Australian Test cricket captain Steve Waugh’s baggy green (lot 141), which changed hands for $14,376 including buyer’s premium, Polly Farmer’s personable collectables came in at second, third, fourth, sixth, seventh, ninth and tenth positions.

Farmer, who died last year aged 84, was a Western Australian football icon – winning five premierships in the State competition, three Sandover Medals for fairest and best player, four Simpson Medals for best player in the grand final and the coveted Tassie Medal for best player in the Australia-wide National Carnival – before being recruited in 1962 by the Victoria’s Geelong Football Club.

So good were his talents that he completely revolutionised ruck-craft and turned handball into an offensive weapon. There is no doubt that Farmer was instrumental in Geelong winning the 1963 VFL premiership and many rate him alongside  leading goal-kicker Gary Ablett Sr as the greatest players the club has ever had.

Thus, it is no surprise that buyers paid most money for Farmer’s 1963 Carji Greeves Award club best and fairest medal (lot 302), $6888, followed by the same medal for the following season (lot 306 - $6289).

South African Graham Pollock’s (whose Test career was cut severely short following the team’s international ban because of Apartheid) Test cricket cap (lot 163) brought $5031 – followed by two of Farmer’s Simpson Medals (1958 and 1969 – lots 283 and 324), each for $4552.

Steve Waugh’s Test helmet (lot 140) sold for the same price and then buyers snapped up Farmer’s Western Australian football jumper for $4073 (lot 281), the price they also paid respectively for his 1963 Geelong premiership medal (lot 300) and MBE (lot 325).

Farmer, the first still playing at the time Australian Rules footballer to receive a Queen’s honour, was awarded the Member of the Order of the British Empire in 1971.

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