Monday 29 March 2010 

Cricket Treasures Up For Grabs At Glamorgan

Glamorgan Cricket Club have turned to the man who has raised more than $135m by auctioning the game’s greatest players to help them raise funds to build the Welsh Museum of Cricket.

As the 2010 English cricket season gets set to start on 29 March, auctioneer Richard Madley has been given the task of raising more than £100,000 for the Welsh county to kick-start their ambitious project at the SWALEC Stadium.

Glamorgan chairman Paul Russell has decided to delve back into the county’s past to try to secure a brighter future for the club by auctioning off some of their oldest cricketing treasures.

Autographs from the legendary WG Grace, Jack Hobbs and Ivo Bligh, who was the first English captain to bring home the Ashes, as well as a run of Wisden cricket annuals from 1865 -1970 will go under Welsh-born Madley’s gavel at Dreweatts and Bloomsbury Auctions Mayfair premises in London on 9 June.

Auctioneer Richard Madley (top) with Glamorgan and England cricketer Matthew Maynard surrounded by auction items.

Madley, who has more than 30 years of international experience as an auctioneer, is a cricket lover who still keeps wicket for Lacock 2nd XI in the seventh division of the Wiltshire County League having also been head of cricket memorabilia at the London-based auction house Phillips.

Over three years he has also topped $100m by selling the world’s greatest players to the eight IPL franchises, owned by India’s richest and most famous sons and daughters. But now his sights are set on raising a more modest, although equally significant, sum.

“Glamorgan have done a remarkable job in turning their old Sophia Gardens home into the magnificent new SWALEC Stadium Test arena,” said Madley, a director of Dreweatts, the United Kingdom's largest regional auction house.

“But they are not resting on their laurels and their ambitious plan to create the Welsh Museum of Cricket was something that immediately struck a chord with me when I spoke to Paul Russell about it.

Madley’s expertise in the sports memorabilia market – he recently sold a collection of old rugby and football programmes from a Welsh collector dating back to the 1890s for more than £10,000 – made him the perfect man to assess the value of Glamorgan’s treasure trove and Dreweatts presence in the South West marries well with the international exposure that Bloomsbury Auctions' London premises offers as a sale venue.

“This is an important sale for the club although I have to stress we are not selling off the family silver. The items going to auction are those that have been gathering dust over the years, we feel we can live without and which would not be housed in our museum,” explained Glamorgan chairman Paul Russell.

“We wanted an expert to take on this sale for us and in Richard we feel we have found exactly the right man. Not only does he have great credentials, but he also loves cricket and is a Glamorgan fan.

“Whatever money we raise will be put to good use in establishing the museum. It is an important project for us and one which we hope will help to enthuse future generations of cricket players and lovers the length and breadth of Wales.

“The SWALEC Stadium has already put itself on the map by hosting a dramatic Ashes Test match. We want it to become a major visitor attraction centre as well as a major sporting venue and that is why we want to establish the museum at the ground.”

Madley also stressed that the auction at Bloomsbury Auction House ‘will be no fire sale’.The Welsh county’s ‘crown jewels’ have been ring-fenced and only ‘non-core items’ and doubles will be up for grabs.

“This is going to be a very important sale not only for Glamorgan, but also for the cricket memorabilia marketplace. It is going to generate huge interest – and big sums,” he added.

“But the most important thing is that Dr Andrew Hignell, Glamorgan’s 1st X1 scorer and archivist, has identified what needs to be kept for the new museum and only those items that don’t tell the story of cricket in the county and across South Wales are being listed.

“The Wisden almanacs alone could raise more than £50,000 and there are many other items that will sell for significant sums.”

Madley has already shipped the items from Cardiff to Dreweatts’ West Country base in Clifton and is currently busy putting together a full catalogue to show the collection to its best advantage.

“We’re looking to engage with all Glamorgan members and as many fans as possible and hope that many of the items will stay in Wales,” added Madley.

“There will be a chance to view at our Clifton showrooms in late May and then there will be formal viewings ahead of the auction in London on Monday, 7 June. We hope to have catalogues available from 10 May.”