An extremely rare 1905 New Zealand All Blacks “Originals” tour to the UK jersey sold for £30,000 at a rugby memorabilia auction at Cardiff’s Principality Stadium.
Listed as lot 627 by auction house Mullock’s, the jersey came from the collection of a former Ireland player, the late Basil Maclear who played 11 Test matches and died on May 24, 1915, while fighting in the World War One battle at Ypres.
Maclear incredibly faced the almost invincible New Zealand tourists in four matches on their tour, playing for Blackheath, Bedford, Ireland and Munster. He was one of 25 people inducted to the World Rugby Hall of Fame during ceremonies held at Wembley Stadium during the 2015 Rugby World Cup.
Mullock’s described the world-renowned jersey as “in the best condition in which we have seen one of these iconic garments, carefully and lovingly preserved. It retains all of its original features – including the silver fern badge, the distinctive padded yoke, the many eyelets and original lace to tie up to the neck if wished.
“It is, and clearly always has been, unnumbered, as was the case for many matches on this early tour and in early rugby generally. It has retained its colour, shape and quality of wool.
It's almost time! Our #Rugby #Memorabilia #Auction is fast approaching on 28 Mar at #PrincipalityStadium #Cardiff – within the #auction is this Lot 627 an extremely rare #1905 #NZ #AllBlacks #Rugby Shirts for the Tour to the UK: their world renowned Jersey – Est £20,000-25,000 pic.twitter.com/RvNv4MhsqU
— Mullock's Auctions (@Mullocks1996) March 25, 2019
“It is an outstanding example of this hugely desirable and collectable symbol of New Zealand rugby, the different black jersey of the most successful sports team not just of the year 1905 but arguably of all time.
“Such examples, as have come to market in the last five years, have demonstrated the growth in interest and value of these very rare items. This is a magnificent piece of memorabilia of global interest.”
This rare piece of AB rugby treasure won't be going cheap ? https://t.co/0I0AjWEEeP
— RugbyPass (@RugbyPass) March 26, 2019
The benchmark value of memorabilia from the 1905 tour remains the staggering £180,000 paid by Saracens owner Nigel Wray in 2015 for a jersey worn by “Originals” skipper Dave Gallaher in the defeat by Wales – the only loss on that 35-match tour 114 years ago.
Lot 615, the last overseas Test jersey of All Black legend, the late Colin Meads, sold for £8,000 while a twice-signed Grogg of Jonah Lomu in his New Zealand kit sold for £360. Lomu signed the ceramic figure for a teammate during his stint at Cardiff Blues.
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