Extremely rare Don Bradman cricket card an Australian auction find

Author: Richard Brewster | Posted: 10th May, 2024

The rarest Don Bradman cricket cigarette and trade card in existence (lot 3627) is being auctioned through Melbourne-based Abacus Auctions at its forthcoming four-day stamps, postal history, militaria, coins and banknotes and sporting memorabilia sale from 11am Tuesday May 21, continuing each day at the same time until Friday May 24.

The card, issued in 1932 by the Friends Temperance Union, is one of only six or seven known examples worldwide.

According to Abacus Auctions sporting memorabilia expert Max Williamson, it is the first of these cards he has seen at auction in Australia and may well be the only one in the country.

Bradman is the most iconic Test batsman to ever live, finishing with an almost perfect average of 99.94 over the 52 Tests he played for Australia from 1928 to 1948. To date, no other batsman has even come close to achieving that feat.

Another important cricket item is former Australian Test bowler Alan Connolly’s baggy green cap and blazer from the 1967 New Zealand tour (lot 3608). Connolly played 29 Tests between 1963 and 1971.

With the Australian Rules Football League 2024 season now approaching the middle rounds, Scanlens football cigarette and trade cards also are popular – and none more so than that of former Geelong champion indigenous ruckman the late Graham “Polly” Farmer (lot 3722), the key card in the 1963 set.

Hailing from Western Australia, where he played for both East Perth and West Perth clubs, Farmer joined Geelong in 1962 and played 101 games for the Victorian club.

During that time, Geelong won the 1963 VFL premiership and Farmer captained the club from 1965 until 1967, when he returned to Perth.

A member of both Geelong’s team of the century and the AFL team of the century, Farmer also coached his old club between 1973 and 1975.

Farmer became famous for changing handball from a last resort to an offensive weapon by practising the art using slightly open car windows as targets at the car yard where he worked.

A rare flight cover (lot 2284) – one of three in this auction to be carried on the aircraft piloted by pioneer aviators Ross and Keith Smith on the first completed flight from England to Australia – is being offered for the first time.

Aerophilately expert Tom Frommer identified 364 covers from the flight (of which this is number 289), that won the 10,000-pound prize offered by the Australian Government at the time for the first successful aviators to complete the journey.

There are several stamps worth mentioning. One (lot 22) is an 1850-51 one penny stamp showing Sydney views and carries a catalogue estimate of $25,000.

Another is an extraordinary block of 24 Victorian 1854-64 octagonal shilling stamps (lot 925).

With a $60,000 catalogue estimate, this block is one of the most important items of Victorian and Australian Colonies philately.

Lot 369, a South Australian 1855 London printing of a 2d rose carmine specimen with the word “cancelled’ hand stamped on it, is another attraction – along with the two-pound black and rose John Ash Imprint Pair Australian kangaroo stamp (lot 2121).

An 1869 pictorial 15 cent stamp showing Christopher Columbus landing in America (lot 2759) is bound to attract collectors of United States stamps.

Among the militaria memorabilia on offer is a scarce group of 10 medals (lot 3008) awarded to Sergeant Jason Quinn for his service in East Timor, Iraq and Afghanistan.

Abacus Auctions believes this is an excellent opportunity for collectors as similar groups are unlikely to appear on the auction market for many years.

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