Collecting News

Sports Legends Warmed by Olympic Torch





Bonhams sale of Sporting Memorabilia in Chester on 21 October includes kit from some of the greatest sportsmen of the 20th Century and, most appropriately, an Olympic torch that bore the Olympic flame at the Barcelona Games in 1992

Lot 92 in the sale, the Barcelona Olympic Torch was created by the Barcelona industrial designer Andre Ricard, made of metal, plastic and chrome with caption to stem "XXV Olimpiada Barcelona 1992" on the handle with the Olympic games emblem. It is estimated to sell for £600 to £800. The 1992 Olympic flame Journey began on 5 June 1992 following the route – Olympia – Athens, Athens – Piraeus, Piraeus- near Empuries (by the Spanish ship "Catalunya"), through Spain ending on 25 July 1992, with over 10,000 runners taking part.

But for British rugby fans the top item in this sale must be lot 62, Martin Johnsons match worn boots from 2003 World Cup Final. The 2003 Rugby World Cup Final was won by England who defeated Australia 20 to 17. The match went into extra time, in which Wilkinson kicked a drop goal to seal England’s win. Johnson’s pair of Adidas yellow/black ‘Rugby’ boots, these boots worn in this historic game are estimated to sell for £3,500 to £5,000.

This lot includes a colour picture of Martin Johnson being presented with a cast of the boots, a testimonial year auction brochure featuring a cast of the boots and a hand signed colour photograph of Martin Johnson in the final.

For fans of boxing there are items from Joe Louis and Muhammad Ali. Memories of Muhammad Ali include two coveted items – lot 40, a boxing glove signed by Muhammad Ali in a presentation case. This Everlast red right hand glove hand signed ‘Muhammad Ali aka Cassius Clay’ stored in a glass presentation case with wood base, small plaque to base engraved ‘Muhammad Ali a.k.a. Cassius Clay’, is estimated to sell for £800-1,000.

Lot 41 is a unique collection of 1971 pre-fight photographs of Muhammad Ali. A leather A4 binder containing 33 black and white photographs of Muhammad Ali taken by the photographer Charlie Phillips who accompanied Ali in the days before his fight against Jurgen Blin in Germany in 1971, with each photograph hand signed to the rear by the photographer. Lot includes a programme for the fight held on the 26th December of 1971 in Zurich. Estimate is £1,000-1,500

Born in Jamaica, Charlie Phillips came to London in 1956 and worked as a freelance photographer for various magazines including Harpers Bazaar, Life and Italian Vogue. Whilst living in Notting Hill, Charlie took photographic images which have been exhibited in the Museum of London.

Lot 45 is a pair of Joe Louis hand signed boxing gloves from 1944. A Pair of boxing gloves of the type issued to servicemen during World War II, each hand signed by Joe Louis and dated 7.4.44 (American date format). These gloves have been in the possession of the current vendor since 1977 after being presented to him as a gift by his Auntie, whose husband (a keen b oxing fan) worked at Anfield during the war. Joe Louis visited Liverpool on July 4th 1944. The inscription on the left glove reads ‘To George at Liverpool F.C. Joe Louis 7-4-44’ and on the right glove ‘To Billy at Liverpool F.C….on our side. Joe Louis 7.4.44’. Lot includes press cuttings, a 1950 Boxing News magazine and a 1956 Ring magazine. Estimate £600-800.

On Independence Day in 1944 Joe Louis visited Liverpool Football Club with manager George Kay producing a football league amateur form for the champion to sign, and later Louis was photographed training with the squad. "What a draw this would be should he be called upon one day to lead the Liverpool attack," reported the Liverpool Daily Post. In the evening Louis participated in a three round exhibition bout against Sergeant George Nicholson. "Louis gave a perfect demonstration of left hand work but rarely used his right – maybe it was tired from so much autograph signing but he gave glimpses of his ability and power which won him the world crown," reported the Liverpool Echo the following day. Jackie Wilson, the No.2 welterweight at the time and Corporal James Edger also appeared on the bill.

And finally for the football fans there is lot 273, a shirt worn by the Hungarian legend. Ferenc Puskas hand signed match worn Hungary shirt and leggings Maroon long sleeved shirt imprinted with ‘HUNGARIA’ to front, hand signed by Puskas to front, imprinted with number 10 to reverse, together with a pair of green socks with maroon and white bands to top. This shirt and leggings were worn by Ferenc Puskas while playing for Hungary in the late 1940’s. Estimate £1,500-2,000.

Puskas one the greatest soccer players of all time was the Hungarian footballer, who dominated the game in the 1950s, scoring a formidable 83 goals in 84 International appearances.

In 1966 the vendors father was named the best player of the National Junior cup in Hungary and received the shirt and leggings from Kalman Preiner who was the federal captain of the junior players at the time. Mr Preiner whispered into his ear that the shirt was Ferenc Puskas – he couldn’t say that out loud as Puskas had emigrated to the West. In the 1980’s when Puskas returned to Budapest for the first time in many years, the vendors father met him in the AERO Hotel where he signed the shirt for him.

For more details visit the Bonhams web site.