Cricketing history buffs get amongst the auction action

Buyers obtained a real slice of cricketing history when Abacus Auctions conducted its second sale (Coins, Banknotes & Sporting Memorabilia) in Melbourne on July 22.

Early 20th century autographed photo postcards of Test cricketers sold like hot cakes – with prices realised reflecting individual fame and the rarity of the signature.

While famous individuals like W.G. Grace ($300 – spot on estimate), Victor Trumper ($600 – double estimate) and Prince Ranjitsinhji ($550 on $200 estimate) followed expectations, it was the lesser lights who really shone.

These included names like Reggie Duff ($460), Peter McAlister ($700) and South African Jimmy Sinclair ($600) – all on $150 estimates.

Studio portrait cards fared even better with Harry Graham and Clem Hill respectively going under the hammer for $1300 and $1200, dwarfing the $150 estimate, while a gold fob awarded to George Robertson (lot 61) sold for $3200 – more than 10 times the catalogue estimate – and Len Maddox’s “Baggy Blue” cap tripled the $300 estimate.

Perhaps the biggest surprise was a 1944 photograph of Charles Eady, who played a mere two Tests around the turn of the 20th century and rarely signed anything. 

The photo, estimated at a modest $100, attracted fierce competition and was finally knocked down for $1700.

This extensive cricket collection, comprising 165 lots, was assembled by Launceston’s late Don Wigan.

One of the scintillating auction purchases was two folio letters from cricketers to Wigan, which sold for $3600, against a $2500 estimate.

The balance of the Australian autographs and photographs, Lot 49, achieved $8000 against a  $2400 estimate. 

The corresponding lots from England, India and the West Indies sold respectively for $4200 ($3000), $2600 ($700) and $3400 ($750). 

Post-1948 collections from Pakistan, Bangladesh and Zimbabwe also did well with respective prices of $1900 ($600), $940 ($320) and $1530 ($650).

There was also no shortage of strong results in the other sporting categories with football memorabilia in particular attracting plenty of attention.

For example, a circa 1910 postcard of South Melbourne Football Club went for $220 ($150).  The extensive offering of early football cigarette cards sold well, as did later cards from Scanlens and others.

The highlight was the 1939 gold VFL premiership medal awarded to Melbourne Legend Jack Mueller that brought $6500 on a $6000 estimate.

A highly evocative 1960s Melbourne Cup poster, Lot 312, was knocked down for $1050 ($700). 

Reserve of $380 for the large framed painting of ‘Wave King’ was a sublime result for the buyer, as was the balance of the Ben Lexcen sailing collection, also at reserve of $1900.

The strong section of Monaco Grand Prix posters, all reprinted from the original stones, brought equally strong results. 

Estimated at $150 each, the 15 posters sold to various buyers for an aggregate of $5535, or an average of $369 each.

Prospective vendors are invited to contact Max Williamson by email to or by phone on 8513 0595 or international +61 3 8513 0595.



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