The year 1936 was a very successful one for British tennis, in the middle of a mini golden age.
Not only did Fred Perry defend his 1935 Wimbledon men’s title against Gottfried von Cramm, winning 6-1, 6-1, 6-0 in the final, but he also won the Mixed Doubles with compatriot Dorothy Round.
Little were tennis fans to know that the next time a British man would win the Wimbledon Men’s Singles would be 2013, thanks to Sir Andy Murray.
Perry’s 1936 gold medal came up for auction at Graham Budd (20.5% buyer’s premium) in London on June 7-9 and suitably Round’s medal for that Mixed Doubles triumph was sold at the same time, along with her 1933 Wimbledon Ladies’ Singles runners-up silver.
Fred John Perry (1909-95) played both table tennis and lawn tennis and was world no 1, winning 10 majors including eight Grand Slam tournaments, two Pro Slam singles titles and six major doubles titles. He won four mixed doubles titles – two at Wimbledon with Round in 1935 and 1936.
Dorothy Edith Round (1909-82) was active in tennis from the late 1920s until 1950, winning the Wimbledon Ladies’ Singles title twice in 1934 and 1937, the Mixed Doubles title three times in 1934, 1935 and 1936 – twice with Perry, once with Japanese player Ryuki Miki – and the Australian singles title in 1935.
Perry’s 37mm diameter medal, hallmarked 18ct, Birmingham 1936, by Joseph Moore, sold for £20,000 at the Graham Budd auction against an estimate of £14,000-18,000.
It was one of three Perry Wimbledon winners’ medals sold by his family at Christie’s South Kensington in 1997. His medals from 1934 and 1935 had made £11,000 and £10,000 respectively, with the 1936 example bringing £8000 (£9200 including 15% premium).
Of the same size, Round’s Mixed Doubles 14ct gold medal, Birmingham 1835, by Fattorini & Sons, took £5500 (estimate £2500-3500) at Graham Budd’s sale. Her silver medal, Birmingham 1932, also by Fattorini & Sons, realised £4400 (guide £2000-3000). Both had been bought at Bonhams in May 1998 by the same collector as the Perry 1936 gold medal at Christie’s in 1997 – the vendor here.
Perry’s medal was purchased by the Lawn Tennis Museum at the All England Lawn Tennis Club (AELTC), Wimbledon. Museum curator Adam Chadwick said: “As part of our commitment to the game’s heritage, the AELTC was keen to add this important item to its collection and delighted to have acquired it for future display at the museum.”
Round’s Mixed Doubles medal went to a UK collector, while her silver medal was bought by an overseas collector.