Wenlock Games inscribed lock and key – £2600 at McTear’s.

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The brass slide catch enclosing the keyhole is also engraved Wen.

William Penny Brookes was the founder in 1850 of The Wenlock Olympian Games, created ‘for the promotion of the moral, physical and intellectual improvement of the inhabitants of the town and neighbourhood of Wenlock’.

Famously, Baron Pierre de Coubertin visited the games in Shropshire in 1890 and, inspired, founded the International Olympic Committee four years later.

He later wrote: “If the Olympic Games that Modern Greece has not yet been able to revive still survives there today, it is due, not to a Greek, but to Dr WP Brookes.”

Sadly Brookes died four months before the first modern summer Olympic Games held in Athens in 1896 but his influence lived on, not least in the naming of Wenlock, one of the mascots of the 2012 London Games.


Wenlock Games inscribed lock and key – £2600 at McTear’s.

This padlock was perhaps a prize at the 1869 event in one of the industrial categories.

Offered at McTear’s (24% + VAT buyer’s premium) in Glasgow on April 29, it got away just below estimate at £2600.