Tom Thompson of Ravenswick Auctions said it was very disappointing that the top items, including three match-used bats and a Test cap, received absolutely zero interest from our local Bradman Museum, to the point where they couldn't even be bothered coming over to view bats that had never been documented or to see items of historic importance.
Rina Hore Executive Director from the Bradman Foundation responded that representatives of the museum (now known as the International Cricket Hall of Fame) had viewed the items from the collection of collector Chris Moyle in June. In short, the independent valuation had priced the key pieces beyond the museum's reach.
The article demonstrated that specific items were priced with a too weighty value and were sold for considerably less than the asking price.
This therefore begs the question as to whether sporting memorabilia has the value it once had as an investment on the one hand, and whether such memorabilia items are able to hold their value whether held in a private collection or on display in a sports museum.
There seems to be a number of issues
The economy has always played a part in such "exotic" investment items and there comes a time when even those who are well-heeled baulk at paying what might seem exorbitant prices for such items. The are additional costs of insurance, security and travel that need to be added on to the initial purchase price for "exotic" investments.
Friends of ours in the eighties were advised to invest in "sheet stamps" (Australia Post) and had amassed $20,000 value of this exotic investment. They failed to insure them, nor did they place them in a bank vault. Their home was burgled and their exotic investment was stolen never to be recovered or reimbursed. This gave them such a shot in reality, they that in a matter of months they went to Bible College and became missionaries.
A second issue is that of the vagaries of exotic investments. What is of value to one person may be of no interest or of little interest to someone else. The long retired inaugural Victorian cricket team chaplain the Reverend Barrie Sutton was given a signed cricket bat by then Australian and Victorian Dean Jones. Barrie had this bat placed into a glass enclosed case on his wall. To Barry it had great significance.
Those without cricket knowledge or appreciation would not give such exotic investments a second thought. When former Australian Cricket Captain Greg Chappell opened Australia's Bush Orchestra tourist walk in Moruya in 1996, the MC gave him my braces and bow tie (Australian Cricket Team chaplain) to sell at a charity function. I have often wondered what they raised.
Likewise I gave a family heirloom to the Bradman Museum way back in 2005, an old wind-up gramophone with a 78 LP with "Our Don Bradman" on one side and "Our Eleven" on the other. Rina Hore told me a couple of years ago it was on display, I often wonder what something of that ilk might have been valued. Sir Donald Bradman sent me a typed letter as the Australian Cricket team Chaplain after his wife died and again, such letters have some value.
Exotic items have value to those who collect them. There are match-box car collections, match-box cover collections, military medal collections, old bottle collections, in fact collections of any kind that have value to those people who value them. As a former locomotive engineman on the NSW Government railways I have an old steam engine "steam gauge" that is hanging in pride and place in my office and on one occasion I put in one-bay thinking it might be of some value. Alas, all I got were several emails saying it was over priced at $50.
But what is of everlasting value are not items where rust and moth destroy, rather that which is of lasting value and this is precisely the Good News of Jesus Christ and His Salvation.
In my 17 years as the Australian Cricket Team Chaplain (Ret 2000) it was obvious a second coach was not what the chaplaincy appointment was associated with and I stayed well away from such issues. However in the many secular media interviews (of which there were many) I spoke rather of the holistic life - which very much included that which - we could neither see or touch - loyalty, honesty, integrity, ambition, trust, love, fulfilment, faith in Jesus Christ ….
Dr Mark Tronson is a Baptist minister (retired) who served as the Australian cricket team chaplain for 17 years (2000 ret) and established Life After Cricket in 2001. He was recognised by the Olympic Ministry Medal in 2009 presented by Carl Lewis Olympian of the Century. He has written 24 books, and enjoys writing. He is married to Delma, with four adult children and grand-children.
Mark Tronson's archive of articles can be viewed at www.pressserviceinternational.org/mark-tronson.html