Historic SAFC medal sold at FOUR TIMES estimated value as part of £400k auction

A Championship winning medal won by a player from one of Sunderland AFC’s greatest ever sides, has been sold at auction for almost four times its estimated price.

Thursday, 9th September 2021, 12:52 pm

The 1901-02 Football League Division One Championship medal awarded to Scottish left-back Jimmy Watson, had an estimated price of £5,000 and no more than £6,000. Eventually the gavel went down at £19,280.

Watson’s name rarely crops up outside the pages of football’s history books, 119 years after his finest hour. But in his day he was considered one of the finest defenders in the game. He also won six caps for Scotland.

The medal has been bought by a private collector.

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Jimmy Watson's medal had an estimated price of £5,000 - £6,000. Eventually the gavel went down at £19,280. Image from Graham Budd.

It was sold as part of a lot owned by Bryan Horsnell, a retired postal worker and football collector from Reading. It was sold by auctioneers Graham Budd, who specialise in sports memorabilia.

The auction was held in Wellingborough in Northamptonshire and Mr Horsnell’s collection of football artefacts, accumulated over 60 years, was sold for a total of £392,378 – more than double the pre-auction estimate.

The highest price fetched by one item was £24,100 for the earliest Manchester United medal ever auctioned. The Manchester Senior Cup winner's medal was awarded to Thomas Fitzsimmons in 1893, when United were called Newton Heath.

A Bobby Charlton shirt made £18,075, while a collection of England caps won by Cliff Bastin, the great Arsenal striker of the 1930s, went for £61,817.

Sunderland AFC's championship winning squad of 1901-02.

The auction overran by almost two hours, with intense bidding from all over the world online and by telephone.

Auctioneer Graham Budd said of Watson’s medal: “I was surprised by the level of bidding and how the pre-sale estimate was exceeded. But it was the classic auction battle between two bidders.”

Jimmy Watson was born in Motherwell on October 4, 1877. He played 225 times for Sunderland, including all but one match during the famous 1901-02 season.

He joined SAFC from Clyde FC in 1900. He left Sunderland to join Middlesbrough FC in 1907, where he made another 103 league appearances. He later managed a hotel in Middlesbrough.

Jimmy emigrated to manage a football club in Canada in 1923, where he died on June 12, 1942.

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