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Cricket memorabilia goes under the hammer

W.G.Grace - 1895 photo

W.G.Grace - 1895 photo

Knights Sporting Ltd auctioned the important Horntye Park collection of cricket memorabilia at the Premier Travel Inn, Leicester on Saturday 19th July.
The gem of the collection, estimated at £1,500-2,500, is a large, original, sepia photograph of the Australian team who toured England in 1924, signed by all sixteen players and the manager, Sydney Smith.
There were 190 lots in all. Also included was an original photograph of W. G. Grace in batting pose (see illustration, this page). Boldly signed in black ink by Grace and dated 1895, it shows him with the bat with which he made over 1000 runs in May 1895. It was estimated to fetch £500-600. There was also a large original photograph of the very first English cricket team to tour Australia, H. H. Stephenson’s team of 1861/2. Pasted on the back of the photograph is a letter from H. Gerald Smythe to W. E.  F. Cheeseman, founder of Hastings Cricket Week, giving details of the tour and photograph. (Estimate £400-600). A photograph of  the first Australian cricket team to tour England, (1878), is estimated at £500-800.
The sale of this large and important collection has aroused controversy amongst local cricket enthusiasts, but cash-strapped Horntye Park say it is very necessary.
 Kevin Miller, general manager, told the Voice, “It’s a decision that we did not take lightly. There was a lot of soul-searching on the part of the management and trustees before the decision was finally reached. It was a case of having to keep ourselves solvent. It will give us sufficient time and working capital while awaiting the outcome of the planning application.”  He said they had initially hoped that the collection could have been kept in the town but this did not come to fruition. “Unfortunately sentimentality doesn’t pay the bills.”  [See STOP PRESS for auction results].

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