St Kilda sporting memorabilia popular with Australian auction goers

Quirky contrasts can be quite stark when it comes to professional football – and none more so than for St Kilda Football Club which, after 124 years as a foundation member of the Victorian Football League which in 1990 became the Australian Football League competition, still has only one premiership to its credit.

Yet, any sporting memorabilia to do with the club is often enormously popular with auction goers – and so it proved at Leski Auctions Sporting Memorabilia Melbourne sale on Thursday November 12 when a silver pocket watch in a custom leather case (lot 372) was sold after much spirited bidding for $5975 including buyer’s premium – more than twice its high catalogue estimate.

Presented by the St Kilda Football Club in 1886 (and engraved as such), the watch belonged to Alfred Smith (1867-1936) who from age 19 played 157 games with club, kicking 72 goals.

At that time St Kilda was a leading Victorian Football Association team and Smith ended his career with one game in 1898 (against Carlton Round 14) after St Kilda had joined the VFL.

Any memorabilia to do with influential football club Collingwood also is popular so it was not surprising that the rare 1958 premiership poster drawn by famous Herald Sun cartoonist WEG (lot 397) also sold for double its estimate at $3346.

Cricket reminders of the Don Bradman era are another major drawcard and the official photograph of the successful 1934 Australian Test team in England with 15 original pen signatures (lot 178) changed hands for $3107, well above estimate.

Another St Kilda memorabilia piece – the 1966 original WEG premiership poster (lot 408) – also was strongly contested, estimated at $200-$300 but selling for $2629.

A complete set (132) of 1974 Scanlens “Footballers” cards (lot 480) had a similar result – $400-$500 catalogue estimate becoming a $2031 sale.

Betty Cuthbert is another popular sporting name and lot 648 – the “Australian Sporting Legends – Betty Cuthbert Tribute” display comprising a window mounted large group photograph with 57 signatures including those of Olympians Herb Elliot, John Landy, Ron Clarke, Debbie Flintoff-King and Robert De Castella – changed hands for a pleasing $1912.

Other highlights included lot 127, the 1909 Australian Test team in England ($1434), British diver Keith Collin’s 1958 British Commonwealth Games gold medal (lot 52 - $1314.50), West Indian fast bowler Joel Garner’s World Series Cricket shirt from the 1918-82 Tri Series (lot 263 - $1195) and 1976 Scanlens “Footballers” duplicate cards (lot 487 - $1195).

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