Ethan Switch - Friday, 3 October 2003
Sir Donald Bradman's rotting corpse isn't going to be seen on anyone's auction wish list in the near future or as one of a necrophiliac's desired conquests. This could be due to the state and that such things are frowned upon in the sporting world and primarily that cremation tends to leave behind only ashes.
Speaking of which, for those seeking remnant scads of sporting history steeped with tradition and dusts of ashes, then an upcoming auction to be held in Moss Vale, Australia on Sunday, October 19 looks to be a nice date to have the accounts sorted.
The item up for bids is a 120 year old silver tray, The Ashes Tray. Dated 1882-1883 and estimated to be worth anywhere from A$200,000 to A$300,000.
Engravings on the tray read: Presented to Sir William & Lady Clarke as a tribute of friendship & esteem by the English cricketers in Australia 1882- 1883. It also bears the autographed signatures of eight English amateurs including Captain Ivo Bligh, Read, Studd, Steel, Charles and George Studd, Tylecote, Leslie and Vernon, raised on four ball feet, Martin & Hall, Sheffield 1880.
William Clarke was President of the Melbourne Cricket Club and had travelled to London to see the Australians defeat England at the Oval in August 1882. The Clarkes then travelled to Australia with the Honourable Ivo Bligh and his English touring team on the steamer Peshawar. Bligh, the 23 year-old second son of the Earl of Darnley, had vowed to bring back "the Ashes" to England.
The Ashes tray has been held within the Clarke family for 120 years, and is the only Ashes relic ever available for auction.