Australian Hall of Fame inductee premiership medals achieve top auction result

Three premiership medals (lot 426) won in 1939, 1940 and 1941 by Melbourne Football Club’s Australian Hall of Fame inductee Percy Beames (1911-2004) beat all comers at Leski Auctions Sporting Memorabilia auction on Monday September 20 when they sold for $54,970 (including buyer’s premium).

Joining Melbourne in 1931, Beames soon established himself as the club’s rover and was part of the hat-trick of premierships the club won from 1939-41 and then captain-coached for the next three years.

Beames also was a top cricketer, representing Victoria on 18 occasions between 1933 and 1946 scoring 1186 runs at an average of 51.56 including three first class centuries with a top score of 226 not out.

After his football career was finished, Beames joined The Age newspaper as a football writer for the next 30 years.

The 1971 nine-carat Caulfield Cup won by Gay Icarus (lot 745) – still in its original custom made case from Gaunts – was the next highest priced item, changing hands for $21,510.

A similar nine-carat gold trainer’s trophy (lot 748) presented to 1975 winner Analight’s trainer Cyril Beechey brought $9560 with both cups from his estate by family descent.

A 1902 Australian cricket team photograph (lot 108), catalogued for a modest $150-$200, sold for $8962 – probably because of its historical significance.

The Australian XI defeated an England XI captained by Gilbert Jessop on 16-18 June of that year, winning by 131 runs. Famous Australian fast bowler Hugh Trumble took 14 wickets for the match.

Original Herald Sun cartoonist WEG posters of St Kilda winning the 1966 premiership (lots 449 and 450), the first in excellent condition and the second with slight defects, sold respectively for $5258 and $4063.

Geelong Football Club also obtained a guernsey with a 1951 premiership team photograph surrounded with 20 signatures (lot 433), including captain Fred Flanagan and vice-captain and 1951 Brownlow Medal winner Bernie Smith, and letters (lot 389) sent to Alfred Ernest Batty (1879-1920) who played nine games for the club before becoming a Victoria Football League umpire .

One of the letters, dated April 16, 1904, was from Geelong Football and Cricket Club secretary Charles Brownlow inviting Batty to first training night and the other, dated April 26, 1906, was from VFL secretary E.L. Wilson informing him he had been appointed a boundary umpire. Each of the lots changed hands for $3824.

Another interesting result was the 1965 Scanlens “Footballers” complete set of 36 VFL cards including such football luminaries as Ted Whitten, Des Tuddenham, Kevin Murray, “Polly” Farmer, Bob Skilton and Darrel Baldock (lot 571) which brought a healthy $3346 on an $1400-$1880 estimate.

The same price was paid for the 1966 series of 72 cards (lot 573), including all 14 die-cuts, with legends such as Ron Barassi, Ken Fraser and Barry Cable included.

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