Bradman’s bat smashes auction record
A cricket bat wielded by Sir Donald Bradman when he scored a Test century against South Africa in Sydney almost 90 years ago has sold at auction in Adelaide for a record-breaking $183,305.
The online sale was co-ordinated by Mile End auction house du Plessis Auctions on behalf of a South Australian collector, with the Sykes bat - signed by notable cricketers of the 1930s and '40s - attracting strong interest from enthusiasts from throughout Australia.
Auctioneer Marc du Plessis said the rare "piece of Australian history" was eventually sold to a private Brisbane bidder for $183,305 - including the buyers' premium - with the hammer price realising $150,250.
"That is a new world record for any cricket bat," Mr du Plessis said. "The previous one was $161,295 (paid for a bat used by India's Mahendra Singh Dhoni in the 2011 World Cup) at a charity dinner in London in 2011.
"The opening bidder for this Bradman bat was the final bidder as well, which is interesting - his opening bid was $5000 and he ended up paying the $150,250. He just sat back and watched it and then came in at the last minute ... there were a whole heap of other bidders in between."
Mr du Plessis said the previous owner - who wished to remain anonymous - had put the bat on the market for family reasons and was "very, very happy" with the outcome.
"The vendor is looking at purchasing a new home for his family and decided to part with his most prized possession to raise funds," he said. "This is a nice deposit towards the house that he was looking at."
This week's sale comes after the baggy green cap Sir Donald wore during his Test debut against England in 1928 fetched $455,000 at auction co-ordinated by Pickles Auctions in December.
Born in the New South Wales town of Cootamundra in 1908, Bradman later settled in Adelaide, where he died in February 2001, at the age of 92.
Acknowledged as the greatest batsman - if not cricketer - of all time, Bradman used the bat when he scored 112 as Australia went on to win the second Test against South Africa in Sydney in 1931 by an innings and 155 runs. His scores in the five-Test series - won emphatically 5-0 by the home side - provide an illustration of how good a batsman he was.
His 112 followed an innings of 226 in the first Test in Brisbane. Afterwards came scores of 2 and 167 in the third Test in Melbourne and a massive 299 not out in Adelaide.
He did not bat in the fifth Test owing to a reported "dressing room mishap" before play on the first morning but still finished with a series tally of 806 runs at an average of 201.5 - more than twice his celebrated career average of 99.94.
The bat also boasts the autographs of the players from both South Africa and Australia who played in the series, as well as Australian and English competitors involved in the infamous 1932-33 Bodyline contest - including visiting skipper Douglas Jardine and fast bowlers Harold Larwood and Bill Voce.
Originally published as Bradman's bat smashes auction record