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This niche area of collecting rarely gets a mention but can command some eye-watering results.

I was particularly interested by the painting that was illustrated showing a grandfather teaching young children how to play cricket.

In my previous incarnation at Phillips, Son and Neale, I was fortunate enough to hold a sale with a specialised section of cricket memorabilia, in those days called Cricketana, in September, 1978.

I think this was a first foray into cricket collecting at auction but am happy to be corrected on this point.

My colleagues thought that I had taken leave of my senses to hold such a sale but it was a particular interest of mine.

Cricket call

The main vendor was the late Anthony Baer, a slightly eccentric but devoted collector of all things cricket. He was well known for walking around Portobello Market shouting out for anything cricket related.

I catalogued the sale and had the good fortune to be in the rostrum.

Anthony had very fixed ideas of values, many of which I thought were absurdly optimistic. On the day, I was delighted to conclude the auction having sold every lot and had no shame in admitting to Anthony that he knew the market a great deal better than I did!

This sale paved the way for Phillips to hold many successful cricket auctions over the years.

It included a painting, lot 144, by Alexander Hohenlohe Burr (1837-99) titled A Game of Cricket.

I attach a rather poor image (see above) that is taken from the black and white illustration in the catalogue. It is remarkably close in composition to the one sold in Canterbury.

I would suggest that the picture in Canterbury was almost certainly painted by Burr with one or two minor alterations, or was a direct copy, which is unlikely, although the picture at Phillips was signed whereas the Canterbury one was presumably not signed.

The picture in 1978 sold for a hammer price of £7500 with no premium to pay in those halcyon days.

Roger Hollest

Melksham, Wiltshire