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Historic Ashes memorabilia to be sold in Australia with Leonard Joel Auctions
An engraved silver tray.

MELBOURNE.- Two historic pieces of Ashes memorabilia, an engraved silver tray, presented to the President of the Melbourne Cricket Club on England’s defeat of Australia in the very first ‘Ashes’ Test series in 1882-83 and the Ashes Urn, presented to Australia’s Cricket Captain, Monty Noble on his team’s victory over England in 1909, are to be offered at auction by Leonard Joel at 11am AEDT on 7 December 2017.

Max Williamson, Head of Sporting Memorabilia at Leonard Joel said, ‘The Ashes Urn is the pinnacle for any Cricketing Memorabilia collector and this particular urn, being one of only three we know of still in private hands, is the most important piece of Cricketing Memorabilia to appear on the market for many, many years.’

‘We are also thrilled that since we announced the auction, to have been offered the 1882-83 silver Ashes Tray, presented to the Melbourne Cricket Club President, Sir William Clarke, by Captain Ivo Bligh in the very first ‘Ashes’ Test series.’

‘Both items are historically significant and present once in a lifetime opportunity to acquire original Ashes memorabilia.’

Although it stands at only approximately 10cm high, the Ashes Urn has, since its inception, been the most fiercely contested trophy in Test cricket, and represents the enduring competition between Australia and England.

The ‘Ashes’ originates from the 1882 Test series when Australia played and defeated England – the first defeat for England on home soil - and journalist Reginald Brooks published his now famous obituary in The Sporting Times (illustrated below), mourning the ‘death’ of ‘English Cricket and stating the ‘Ashes’ would be taken to Australia.

Later that year Ivo Bligh captained England’s team on their tour to Australia, and the British media dubbed the tour a quest to regain ‘The Ashes’.

England won the Test series 2-1 and a group of Melbourne ladies, including his future wife, Florence Morphy and her companion, Lady Clarke, presented Bligh with a small urn inside a velvet bag, said to contain ‘The Ashes’.

In turn, Captain Bligh presented President of the Melbourne Cricket Club, Sir William Clarke and his wife, Lady Clarke with a silver tray engraved, ‘a tribute to friendship and esteem.’ The tray, which was offered to Leonard Joel for auction following the announcement of the 1909 urn, is another important piece of Ashes history and is estimated at AUD$80,000-100,000.

The original urn remained with the Bligh family until it was, at Bligh’s request, bequeathed to Lord’s Cricket Club where it remains on display.

Over the years, several urns were created to symbolise the mythical ‘Ashes’ and held aloft by victorious teams. However, the Monty Noble urn, which was presented to him by Ivo Bligh’s wife, Lady Darnley, is one of only three known remaining urns in private hands (two of which are on loan to Melbourne Cricket Club Museum).

Since the 1998–99 Ashes series, a Waterford Crystal representation of the Ashes urn has been presented to the winners of The Ashes series as the official trophy.

The Monty Noble Collection also includes other trophies and silverware commemorating significant moments in his career, the highlights of which are a magnificent gold vesta case (1899) and an engraved silver tea service (1908), as well as original team photographs and has a combined estimate of $70,000-100,000.

The auction, Leonard Joel’s first dedicated to Sporting Memorabilia, features over 700 lots and also includes several important private collections; The Murray Rose Collection (featuring many of his trophies, including his Australia’s Favourite Male Olympian Trophy and clothing from the 1956 and 1960 Olympics), The Raymond Stehr Collection of Rugby League Memorabilia, The Andrew Joseph Collection of Cricket Bats & Wisdens and A Private Collection of Olympic Memorabilia.

The 1909 Ashes Urn and the 1882-83 Ashes Tray will be on public display at Leonard Joel Melbourne prior to the auction on Thursday 7 December 2017.

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