Bolton Wanderers legend Nat Lofthouse's memorabilia to be auctioned off
TREASURED memorabilia from the glittering career of Bolton Wanderers legend Nat Lofthouse will be auctioned by his children in November — with the sale worth as much as £100,000.
Every memento still in the possession of the Lofthouse family will be up for auction at Bonhams in Chester on November 6.
Nat’s 1958 FA Cup winner’s medal, OBE, six remaining England caps and the Lion of Vienna trophy presented to him when he retired will all be on sale in the auction.
The 1958 medal has an estimate of between £10,000 and £12,000, while the cap won by Nat in Vienna in 1952, the match that earned him his famous nickname, is valued at between £2,000 and £3,000.
Nat’s son Jeff Lofthouse, aged 65, who now lives in France, and his sister, Vivien, who is now in Spain, have made the difficult decision to sell the items.
Jeff said: “Apart from having stuff on display in my office, with nobody who comes round having any idea of who Nat Lofthouse is, there’s not a lot else I can do with it.
“We both live overseas and will be retiring soon, so it makes sense for the items to stay in Bolton and be properly treasured.
“The main reason, in the end, for auctioning them is that neither myself or my sister have any children.
“Dad’s stuff might give more pleasure to people who will be able to show it to their children when they are young and then pass it down to them.”
He added that he and his sister felt the timing was “right” to sell Nat’s collection, after a statue of him was unveiled at the Reebok Stadium in August following his death in 2011.
“My sister and I have made the decision jointly,” said Mr Lofthouse.
“Basically, while dad’s name is still relatively fresh in people’s minds, it seems right to sell the things on and let people who might value them more have them.
“The sale will include everything that belongs to us, although quite a lot has been given away or auctioned in the past.
“For example, there are only six England caps in the sale and we did, at one stage, have 24.”
Arguably topping the list of the prime lots for sale is the iconic lion trophy, which Nat was presented with by Wanderers when he retired in 1960.
Anyone interested in putting this on their mantelpiece is expected to have to pay as much as £3,500 to secure their target.
A yellow leather football, used in the 1958 FA Cup final, which Wanderers won 2-0 against Manchester United thanks to two goals from Nat, has been valued at £2,000 to £3,000.
The silk cream shirt and black shorts Nat wore in the same match have an estimate of £3,500-£5,000.
In March, 1994, the Queen awarded Nat an OBE at Buckingham Palace, with the medal valued at as much as £1,500 by auctioneers.
The 1950s equivalent of the Player of the Year award, given to Nat by football writers in 1953, is also on offer.
The sculpted metal trophy on a green felt base could attract bids as high as £6,000, according to Bonhams.
An item of similar value is Nat’s runners-up medal from the 1953 FA Cup final, commonly referred to as the “Matthews Final”, after Stanley Matthews produced an inspired performance to win the cup for Blackpool.
Joining the “Lion of Vienna” cap in the sale is another from a clash with Austria, this time at Wembley in November, 1951.
This and the other four remaining precious international caps of Nat’s are all expected to bring in between £1,500 and £2,000.
The others from matches with Yugoslavia and Scotland in 1951, a special match against FIFA in 1953 and a clash with the Soviet Union in 1958.
Also on sale is a “This is Your Life” red book, presented to Nat by Michael Aspel in 1993 after he was featured by the BBC show.
A bronze bust of Nat, presented to him in 1989 to mark his 50 years with Bolton Wanderers, could fetch as much as £1,800.
The auction is extra special for Bonhams as it will be the last sports sale in Chester, with the branch due to close at the end of the year to be used solely for storage.
Chris Heyes, sports specialist at Bonhams, said: “This is one of the most outstanding collections we have taken to market in my time here.
“Very few players will win as many items as this in their careers for one thing.
“Also, nowadays, because of the wages players earn, it is rare for their items to be sold in this fashion.
“It will be a doubly special occasion as this will be our last sports sale here in Chester but it should be a good one to end on.”
Bolton Council said it was interested in the sale but will not make a decision on buying any items until it knows precisely what is on offer and at what price.
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