It is a gold medal from the 1908 London Olympics, which is estimated at £10,000-15,000 in Mallams’ November 14 sale.
This was the first games to include an official ‘association’ football tournament. Only eight teams entered, with the hosts beating Denmark 2-0 in the gold-medal match in front of 8000 fans at the White City Stadium on October 24. Wearing the number 11 shirt for Great Britain, playing outside left, was Harold Payne Hardman (1882-1965).
Born in Manchester, Hardman was discovered as a schoolboy by Second Division Blackpool. He later signed for Everton in 1903 for a fee of £100, appearing in the 1906 FA cup-winning side, but after Olympic gold he returned to Manchester to open a solicitor’s practice in the city.
Although he appeared for Manchester United just four times, in the 1908-09 season, Hardman’s association with his boyhood club lasted for the rest of his life. After stints at Bradford and Stoke, he was first appointed a MUFC director in 1912 and served as chairman from 1951 until his death in 1965. During his tenure as chairman the club won four league titles and developed the famous ‘Busby Babes’ team.
Hardman’s Olympic medal has been consigned to Mallams by a descendant. Hallmarked for 1907, it is engraved to the edge Winner Association Football, retains its original fitted case inscribed Olympic Games, Winner, Association Football, London, 1908 and comes with a later brooch fitting.