Football fan’s mammoth collection of memorabilia tipped to sell for £170,000

A football fan’s lifetime collection of memorabilia dedicated to the beautiful game is to be sold at auction and could fetch up to £170,000.

Bryan Horsnell, 82, has been collecting medals, caps, official match pennants and vintage jerseys for 60 years.

The collection of more than 200 lots is going under the hammer at auction next week as Mr Horsnell, a retired postal worker, is selling his home in Reading, Berkshire, and moving to a smaller property with his wife.

Among the items being sold are the FA Cup winner’s medals awarded to the first father and son to both win the competition, and football jerseys worn by Sir Bobby Charlton and Bobby Moore.

They will be on offer at sporting memorabilia specialist Graham Budd Auctions on September 7 and 8.

Cliff Bastin played for England 21 times, including against world champions Italy in 1934 (Graham Budd Auctions/PA)
Cliff Bastin played for England 21 times, including against world champions Italy in 1934 (Graham Budd Auctions/PA)

Auctioneer Mr Budd said: “Bryan Horsnell is a pioneer of football collecting and has been very active in this pursuit since the 1960s, a time when very few people were like-minded in this hobby.

“More often than not he would acquire items directly from footballers and built up a spectacular collection.

“This has been supplemented by purchases at auction since memorabilia sales grew from the 1990s onwards.

“It would be difficult and expensive for anybody setting out today to amass such an incredible array of treasures.

“However, the auction offers a unique opportunity to buy football memorabilia of the highest quality.”

Among the highlights are two FA Cup medals won by father and son, Harry Johnson senior and Harry Johnson junior, for Sheffield United.

Dating from 1902 and 1925, they are each estimated to sell for £3,000 to £5,000.

Only three other families have matched the Johnsons’ achievement – Frank Lampard senior and junior, Ian Wright and Shaun Wright-Phillips, and Peter and Kasper Schmeichel.

When Harry Johnson junior won his FA Cup winners medal in 1925 he emulated his father and became the first father and son to win the cup (Graham Budd Auctions/PA)
When Harry Johnson junior won the FA Cup in 1925, he and his father became the first father-son duo to have lifted the trophy (Graham Budd Auctions/PA)

Elsewhere in the Horsnell collection is a 1903 FA Cup winner’s medal awarded to Willie Wood of Bury FC, which is also expected to fetch between £3,000 and £5,000.

A pennant presented by Portugal to England ahead of their World Cup semi-final in 1966 is estimated to sell for between £3,000 and £5,000.

Sir Bobby’s signed red Manchester United No 9 home jersey dating from around 1965 could also sell for between £3,000 and £5,000.

England World Cup-winning captain Moore’s white Fulham No 6 1975 FA Cup final jersey – believed to have been his unused spare – could go for between £2,000 and £3,000.

The Cliff Bastin cap collection is also part of the sale.

The Arsenal legend, who started his career at Exeter City, was one of the most gifted footballers of his generation, playing for England 21 times and scoring 12 goals.

“The collection is remarkable as every single cap he was awarded as an England player has remained intact,” Mr Budd said.

“Very often such a collection fragments as different branches of a family are given one as a memento or are gifted to friends during the player’s lifetime.”

The earliest Manchester United football medal, when the club was known as Newton Heath, is also being sold (Graham Budd Auctions/PA)
The earliest Manchester United football medal, when the club was known as Newton Heath, is also being sold (Graham Budd Auctions/PA)

Being sold separately in the auction is the earliest Manchester United football medal ever to have been offered for sale.

The Manchester Senior Cup winner’s medal was awarded to Newton Heath’s Thomas Fitzsimmons in 1893 could fetch £25,000.

Newton Heath, who became Manchester United in 1902, beat Bolton Wanderers 2-1 in the final, which marked the end of the club’s first season in division one.

“We are very pleased to be selling this important historic medal on behalf of a UK private collector,” Mr Budd said.

“It is the oldest Manchester United medal that has been offered at auction. And there is no knowledge of the whereabouts of any other medal in existence that is older.”