Blackburn Rovers FA Cup winner’s medal 1884, sold for £3400 at Ashley Waller.

Enjoy unlimited access: just £1 for 12 weeks

Subscribe now

It was awarded to forward Joe Sowerbutts (1863-1935) of Blackburn Rovers in 1884 after the Lancashire side had lifted the trophy for the first time. When the medal came for auction 140 years later, estimated at £2500-5000 by Ashley Waller (22% buyer’s premium inc VAT) on February 28, it sold at a hammer price of £3400.

Blackburn-born Sowerbutts had to suffer the indignity of having his name engraved as Sourbutts on the medal but it has been suggested that he himself also used the alternative spelling later on.

The opposition were Queens Park of Glasgow who had been invited to play in the FA Cup several times since the competition began in 1871/72 but had withdrawn every time. They were the most successful club north of the border by 1883/84 - already holders of the Scottish Cup (albeit by default when illness meant Vale of Leven could not compete in that final).

In south London on March 29, 1884, Blackburn won 2-1 with Sowerbutts one of the scorers.

The same teams actually contested the FA Cup final again in 1885, Rovers running out as 2-0 winners on that occasion (with Sowerbutts also playing - and he completed a hat-trick of winner’s medals with Blackburn’s 1886 success, scoring again in the cup final replay to help beat West Bromwich Albion).