"Lost" Bradman bat turns up at Australian auction

Author: Richard Brewster | Posted: 1st August, 2019

Australia’s cricketing icon and batting legend Sir Donald Bradman still attracts an enormous amount of public attention – even though it is more than 70 years since he last competed at international level.

With a batting average of 99.94, he is regarded as the greatest batsmen to ever live and, although he died in February 2001, every time a cricketing item or piece of memorabilia he owned comes onto the market collector hearts appear to beat just a little faster.

Such is the case for Leski Auctions latest sporting memorabilia sale, from 2pm Sunday August 11 at 727-729 High Street, Armadale, when a “lost” bat he used during the 1932-33 Bodyline Series against England turned up among the cricketing items on offer (lot 150).

Bradman has signed the Sykes full-size bat in the ownership position along with 16 members of the English touring party including captain Douglas Jardine, Wally Hammond and Herbert Sutcliffe.

After 86 years, the bat was recently “discovered” in New Zealand. Apparently, Bradman left the bat with an English team member who took it to New Zealand where they played two drawn Tests following their 4-1 Ashes defeat of Australia.

The bat must have been overlooked on the English team’s departure and then spent almost nine decades in New Zealand before being offered for sale in this auction.

Other cricketing items (lots 27-350) include a collection of Test player cricket caps such as Australia’s Clarrie Grimmett (lot 126) and Doug Walters (lot 228), South African captain (1948-1951) Dudley Nourse (lot 161), and Pakistan’s Intikab Alam (lot 219) and Zaheer Abbas (lot 224).

The Melbourne Cricket Club features strongly among the items with an extremely rare 1861 edition of the Club rules (lot 27) among the early contenders – along with rare early annual reports from 1890-91 (lot 35), an 1893-94 leather membership ticket (lot 36), and the first membership medallion (lot 48).

The first Sydney Cricket Ground membership badge (lot 45) also is up for grabs. Another find is privately bound Wisdens from the estate of late Essex cricketer Percy Perrin.

Boxing items are the first to go under the auction hammer with a rare book (lot 8) signed by 1906-1908 Canadian world heavyweight champion Tommy Burns who defended his title 11 times in less than three years and was the first white boxer to fight an African American (Jack Johnson), a bout held in December 1908 in Sydney, which he lost after police stopped the fight in the 14th round.

An individual diving Gold Winner’s Medal (lot 24) belonging to England’s Keith Collin from the 1958 Commonwealth & Empire Games is a rare find.

Australian Rules Football memorabilia items are always popular and this auction is no exception with a 1923 Essendon premiership medal (lot 363) one of the highlights.

Lot 466 is an early riding crop from the Tasmanian Turf Club and lot 501 a nine-carat gold cigarette case inscribed for successful 1920s Australian tennis payer Pat O’Hara Wood.

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