Jesse Pennington was captain of West Bromwich Albion (aged 36) when they won their one and only league title in 1919-20, but his success stretched beyond that to the international scene (Budd believes he would have gained a record number of caps for the time if it had not been for the First World War).
West Brom’s total of 60 points in the era of two for a win, and their 104-goal scoring tally, both set new league records. In another impressive performance, every one of the Pennington lots got away at the sale held at Sotheby’s in New Bond Street, mostly well over estimate.
They were led by his Division One winner’s medal which sold for £24,000 against an estimate of £6000-8000, going to a private buyer on the phone who was a first-time bidder at a Budd auction. He had read about the sale in the local press.
Demand came from a large number of private bidders including four on the phones, several in the room and online. “I think it was all Baggies fans, I really do,” said Budd. He said the wide interest probably explained the high prices and the number of lots meant there was a good chance of bidders securing at least one item.
The group came to auction by family descent. Budd added: “The feedback I was getting was that this was an amazingly complete collection – when you looked at his honours list there wasn’t a medal or a cap missing, everything he won was still there.”
Another key factor was excellent condition: “Every medal was still in its original case, which is unusual after that long. The cap colours were almost as you’d have seen them 100 years ago. They have lasted incredibly well.”