"Live" Australian sporting memorabilia auction to break coronavirus tedium

Author: Richard Brewster | Posted: 4th May, 2020

With Australia still operating under heavy restrictions following the hundreds of thousands of deaths and economic destruction worldwide caused by the coronavirus pandemic, Leski Auctions is the first of the Melbourne-based auction houses to hold a full-blown sporting memorabilia sale involving 716 lots – its biggest for many years.

The auction, from 12pm Sunday May 10 (Mothers’ Day) at 727-729 High Street Armadale, covers valued and historic football, cricket, billiards, boxing, golf, horse racing, tennis, motor sports and Olympic Games items.

Of course, under current Victorian Government rules the auction must be conducted in an empty room. However, there are several ways for buyers to participate.

One is by lodging bids for individual lots beforehand, another is booking a phone line for bids of interest, and a third by bidding live on the Leski Auctions website or the Invaluable.com website.

For this auction, viewing might be possible this week strictly by appointment and not just online but please contact Leski Auctions for further information on (03) 8539 6150.

Unlike the recent timed online auctions being held in Australia by various auction houses during the coronavirus lockdown, Leski Auctions has taken this decision based on the fact that in recent times about 80 per cent of sporting memorabilia items have been sold to buyers not in the room.

Managing director Charles Leski says the auction features two strong sections – cricket and Australian Rules football – with one of the highlights being a South Australian Cricket Guide for 1876-77 season (lot 37), compiled by W.D. Wiltridge.

“It’s very rare, very early by Australian cricket standards and almost certainly missing from most serious collections – public and private,” he said.

An autographed W.G. Grace photo postcard (lot 68) will no doubt be sought be collectors wanting to get their hands on memorabilia of this famous late 19th century-early 20th century English cricketer and captain.

A rare Don Bradman (and his first) State representative cap (lot 148) is another treasure of Australia’s cricketing icon, while a Bodyline Series (1932-33) signed bat (lot 162) is not to be missed.

Former Australian Test captain Alan Border’s circa 1980 team helmet (lot 265) is another highlight while the assembly of team sheets and autograph pages (lots 331-382) is among the best Leski Auctions has offered for some time.

Australian Rules memorabilia is always popular and the intriguing carte-de-visite early photograph of the young footballer on the catalogue front cover (lot 385) is no exception.

The 15-carat gold 1896 premiership medal (lot 386) awarded to Collingwood captain William ‘Bill’ Strickland, which has been in the family ever since, will be auctioned for the first time, along with other items from his estate including a gold pocket watch (lot 390).

An extensive collection of Football Records (lots 560-623) from the late William Grover’s estate is another golden opportunity for collectors.

Other auction highlights include Australian billiards champion the late Walter Lindrum’s world record cue (lot 9), a Muhammad Ali signed photograph (lot 11, Donald Campbell’s signed group (lot 669), a famous tennis poster featuring Australian champion Lew Hoad (lot 714) and world class Australian hurdler Pam Kilborn’s 1964 Olympic team blazer.

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