AFL football great forced to auction his collection

Author: Richard Brewster | Posted: 19th April, 2024

The guernsey Nathan Buckley wore when he won the 2002 Norm Smith medal for best on ground in Collingwood’s grand final loss to the Brisbane Lions (lot 265), is among more than 200 of his sporting memorabilia items the former legendary player and coach is being forced to auction from 10am on Wednesday May 1 in Melbourne.

The sale, being conducted by Leski Auctions as part of its Sporting Memorabilia auction at 727-729 high Street, Armadale, comes three years after his separation and divorce from wife Tania that signalled an end to their 18-year marriage.   

Estimated at $3000-$5000, the guernsey is one of several on offer – including the 2003 Grand Final guernsey (lot 277) when Collingwood’s hopes of atonement for the previous year’s loss (once more against Brisbane) were dashed by 50 points.

Buckley was already a 1992 Port Adelaide premiership player, a Magarey Medal and Jack Oatey Medal (awarded respectively for the South Australian Football League best and fairest and Grand Final best on ground) when, the following year, he entered the Australian Football League to play with the Brisbane Bears (later becoming the Brisbane Lions).

Inaugural winner of the AFL Rising Star Award, in 1994 he moved to the Collingwood Football Club where he became one of its greatest players, winning six Copeland Trophies and gaining seven All-Australian selections over his 280-game playing career to go with a 2003 Brownlow Medal as the league’s best and fairest (jointly won that year with two other players) and AFLCA Champion Player of the Year.

Appointed club captain in 1999, Buckley retired at the end of the 2007 season after 161 games at the helm and holds the additional accolades of induction to Collingwood’s Team of the Century and the Australian Football Hall of Fame.  

After early stints as an AIS-AFL assistant coach, Buckley eventually joined Collingwood in the same capacity before taking over in 2012 as senior coach in a career that was to last 10 years and take the club to a 2018 Grand Final narrow five-point loss.

An interesting memorabilia item is the 1996 AFL Centenary guernsey (lot 215) Buckley wore when Collingwood played St Kilda on May 10 of that year as a repeat of the two teams first match-up in 1897 under the auspices of the then Victorian Football League. All clubs were issued with guernseys designed to replicate the look of the lace-up tops 100 years earlier.

The sporting memorabilia auction features almost 600 lots including leg-spinner Clarrie Grimmett’s 1931-32 baggy green Test cap (lot 68), estimated at $10,000-$15,000, worn against South Africa, and 1934 Test team blazer (lot 79) for that year’s English tour featuring among the cricket items on offer.

The spinner’s 1935-36 baggy green for the South African tour (lot 84), also a $10,000-$15,000 catalogue estimate, is another highlight along with his Test team blazer (lot 85), estimated at $3000-$5000, along with the travelling trunk used to transport his cricket equipment (lot 83).

Born Christmas Day 1891 in New Zealand, Grimmett played 37 Tests for Australia between 1924 and 1936, taking 216 wickets at the miserly average of 24.21 including two-five-wicket hauls in 1925 on debut against England. He became the first bowler to take 200 Test wickets.

Another high estimate cricket item ($10,000-$15,000) is a match-used bat (lot 70) signed by iconic Australian batsman Sir Donald Bradman and his New South Wales XI team on October 15, 1931 at Bathurst.

Maureen Caird’s 1968 Mexico City Olympic gold medal (lot 584) is further drawcard at an estimate of $20,000-$25,000. Caird won the 80-metres hurdles and the medal features a “Seated Victory” with the Colosseum in the background. Her Australian team blazer, singlet  and carry bag (lot 585) are additional items on offer, along with her official lapel bade (lot 586) and Australian Sports Medal awarded in 2000 (lot 587).

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