Rare FA Cup medal goes under hammer

A rare collection of football medals and memorabilia that belonged to George Thornewell, who used to run a pub in Duffield.
A rare collection of football medals and memorabilia that belonged to George Thornewell, who used to run a pub in Duffield.
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a RARE FA Cup winners’ medal that belonged to a former landlord of a pub in Duffield is to go under the hammer at auction.

The 15ct gold-cased medal was won by George Thornewell in 1928 when he was a member of the Blackburn Rovers side that beat Huddersfield Town 3-1 in the FA Cup Final at Wembley Stadium.

It is estimated to make between £5,000 and £8,000 when it is sold among a collection of his football medals and memorabilia by Hansons auctioneers in Derby tomorrow, Thursday, January 20.

George, a former England international and Derby County player, became the licensee of the White Hart pub in 1930. He combined the running of the pub with making the weekly journey to play for Blackburn — a world away from the pampered lifestyle today’s modern footballers enjoy.

Auctioneer Charles Hanson said: “The collection of medals really is remarkable and captures the life of a footballer in the inter-war years, from shirt badges, autographs and numerous winners medals.

“The collection is remarkable because it is so complete.

“The FA Cup Final medal from the 1920s is a very rare thing when you consider the birth of football was in the late 19th century.”

George, who was a Derby supporter throughout his life, died in 1983 at the age of 87. The collection of medals and international caps had been on display in the pub until then.

He moved to Derby at the age of one and was educated at the city’s St James School.

His footballing talents were soon recognised and he joined The Rams in 1919, making his debut against Manchester United.

A cheeky winger who liked to hug the touchline, George also played for Chesterfield.

Also included in the auction will be three of the international caps George won while playing for England against Sweden and France. Each cap is expected to sell for up to £600.

Another piece in the collection will be a gold pocket watch that was presented to George for his role in helping Derby to win promotion to the First Division in the 1924/25 season. He and his teammates received a watch each from the Derby directors.

The collection will be sold at The Mackworth Hotel in Derby by Hansons on behalf of George’s family. The sale will take place tomorrow and is between 10am and 4pm. Viewing of the collection is today, Wednesday, January 19, between 11am and 7pm. For more information, contact Hansons on 01283 733988 or via email on service@hansonsauctioneers.co.uk.