Vast personal Cricket memorabilia auction

On the train yesterday, I happened to read a peice by a Sotherby’s expert on some cricket memorabilia coming up for auction on Thursday at Christie’s. It’s part, or all, of the collection of the late Desmond Eager – once captain of Hampshire. The only details I can find of Eager are in a December 2000 edition of The Hampshire Cricket Society newsletter, and his name is only mentioned in passing.

By all accounts, he was a cricket-nut and is therefore welcomed warmly into cricket blogging circles, even though he’s now no longer with us. I’ve found the listings of all the sales at Christies which can be found here. There are some gems:

  • A Complete List of All the Grand Matches of Cricket that have been played in the Years 1804 & 1805 … by Stanhope and Graham
    – estimate £17,000-22,0000. The only recorded copy in existence
    Cricket. A Collection of All the Grand Matches of Cricket played in England within Twenty Years, viz. from 1771 to 1791, never before published
    – This is absolutely fascinating – published way back in 1799, this scorecard (shown below) even uses Old English (replacing certain instances of the letter S with F, hence Hampfhire)

There are over 200 items being sold, and not just in “fantasy money” price ranges, so if you can spare time on Thursday and are in London, why not pop along? Never been to an auction myself, so I don’t know if you can just turn up, but I don’t see why not.

The article mentions one of the books, Le Cricket pour les Sportsmen Français which “represents a valiant but ultimately doomed attempt to translate the laws of the game into French.” Examples:

Duck = Oeuf de canard (duck’s egg)
Googlie = Bowling haut et lent (bowling high and slow)
LBW = Jambe-devant-guichet (leg in front of ticket office)

Another book makes mention of the oddities of cricket, and the teams to have played it:

Handsome v Uglies
Women with bats v Men with Broomsticks playing left hand
Heavy with Sin v Light with Honesty

What a collection, and thank God I’ve found it. This is as close as I, or even most people reading this, will come to looking at the documents and books unless people like the MCC or museums are willing to cough up for them. I really hope so.

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