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The sale of Gordon Banks's 1966 World Cup winners medal for £124,750 illustrates once more that sports memorabilia is big business.

Indeed, the six items of the Banks's collection sold at Christie's auction house in London on Thursday realised more than £171,690. Christie's football memorabilia specialist David Convery was particularly pleased with the sale of the World Cup medal.

"It's a world record for any football medal sold at any football auction throughout the world."

David Convery explained the history of Christie's football sales.

"Christie's started the football auction as a themed sale in 1989 in Glasgow. In 1999, we decided to move the market down to London and now we're having two sales a year.

"In the last three years it has grown and it's obviously on the up at the moment which is fantastic."

He also outlined the work that goes into putting on an auction of this scale.

"This sale has taken some six months to organise. We have to get the lots together and valued," he said.

"People interested in selling come to us with medals and we tell them exactly what the medal is if they don't know already and tell them how much it is worth.

"Our team of specialists makes sure that every item is examined, researched, described, and assigned a pre-sale estimate in the auction catalogue."

Convery, a keen Scottish football enthusiast, is also the specialist in golf and boxing memorabilia, while Christie's in London also has specialists in tennis, cricket and skiing.

Christie's will hold a cricket auction on 25 May, a tennis sale on 22 June and a golf auction on 10 July, before the next auction of football memorabilia on 27 September.

In total, there were more than 300 separate lots at Thursday's football auction.

As well as the Banks collection, there were also items on sale from Ray Wilson MBE, Dixie Dean, Joe Hulme, Larry Lloyd, Cyril Robinson, Bill Shorthouse and Bobby Moore.

Dixie Dean's 1966 FA Cup winner's medal was bought for £15,000.

Painting prized

Lots included football shirts and boots, trophies and medals, programmes and tickets, as well as prints and paintings.

And it was not just shirts and medals with historical significance that provoked feverish bidding.

Indeed, a painting by Deykin of a 1950 Aston Villa v West Bromwich Albion match was sold for a hammer price of £6,800 - treble its initial estimate.

Contemporary items were not forgotten either. A pair of boots worn and autographed by Roy Keane in the 1999/2000 season realised £1,550, while a pair worn by Sir Stanley Matthews in 1951 earned a mere £1,350.

But the auction was not solely the preserve of eagle-eyed investors or boys seeking toys.

A mere £25 was enough to secure what proved to be the cheapest item sold - a brown leather football, inscribed simply "The League Ball".

World record

That falls some way short of the highest price ever paid for an item of sports memorabilia.

The T-206 Honus Wagner baseball card sold for $640,500 in Christie's in 1996.

The 1906 card, featuring the great shortstop for the Pittsburgh Pirates, once belonged to NHL legend Wayne Gretsky and was sold by a woman who won it on CNN.

Its new owner, investor Michael Gidwitz of Chicago, summed up the whole memorabilia business soon after his purchase.

"In this life, you only get to borrow history for a while," he said.

By BBC Sport Online's Adrian Harte at Christie's



Banks medal goes for £125,000

An anonymous telephone bidder has bought legendary England goalkeeper Gordan Banks's 1966 World Cup winners medal for £124,750.

The sale, at Christie's auction house in London, easily passed its initial £90,000 estimate.

According to Christie's football memorabilia specialist David Convery, the sale was record-breaking.

He said: "It's a world record for any football medal sold at any football auction throughout the world - more than doubling the pre-sale estimate.

"Christie's is delighted, Mr Banks is delighted and his family is delighted that it has realised so much."

Banks said the decision to sell was difficult - the 4-2 cup final victory over West Germany at Wembley was the greatest day of his career.

But the former Leicester and Stoke City keeper wants to save his children the burden of deciding what to do with the medal after his death.

The proceeds will be divided between them.

Of little intrinsic value, auctioneers Christie's describes the prize as "a yellow metal medal measuring barely an inch across".

But for followers of English football it is the ultimate souvenir of the national team's finest hour.

Banks's international cap from the same match was also £27,025.

The black West German jersey Banks swapped with goalkeeper Hans Tiilkowski at the end of the epic final also went under the hammer.

Other lots at the auction of Banks's memorabilia included the international cap given to him when he made what many consider to be the world's greatest ever save, from Pele in the 1970 World Cup.

The cap was purchased by TV personality Nick Hancock for £8,825.

The auction in South Kensington, London, follows on from the sale of the Sir Geoff Hurst collection in September last year.

At that auction a world record £91,750 was paid for the red shirt Hurst wore during the 1966 final.


Comments (2)

  1. fsc

I'm so excited to hear that Christie's is holding a golf auction. I've gotten all of my best golf gear from these auctions. This will be awesome.

  1. fsc

I'm so excited to hear that Christie's is holding a golf auction. I've gotten all of my best golf gear from these auctions. This will be awesome.

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