Auction News | All | Sports memorabilia

Wilko’s world cup-winning shirt up for September sale


A Johnny Wilkinson match-worn shirt from the 2003 rugby world cup final
Johnny Wilkinson's first-half shirt from the 2003 Rugby World Cup Final.

A nation woke up early to watch Johnny Wilkinson drop-kick England to rugby world cup glory in Australia on November 22, 2003. Now, one lucky fan can own a shirt from the game – but not the one in which the famously late-arriving winning points were scored.

The first-half shirt worn by Wilkinson is one of the star items in the Rugby World Cup & Sports Memorabilia Auction at Graham Budd Auctions on September 5 and 6, online.

Winner: Wilkinson celebrates kicking England to their only Rugby World Cup win in Sydney.

A bid of £24,000 is already registered for the shirt, which is expected to realised as much as £60,000.

It is a white Nike England shirt, with red trim, and the fly-half’s number 10. It has been signed by Wilkinson with the message, “To George, best of luck my friend.”

Wilkinson’s shirt is being sold by its owner, who won it in a competition held after the game. The England and Newcastle Falcons player delivered the shirt personally.

modern rugby players change shirts at half-time, if not more often, so this item was not on Wilkinson’s shoulders when he landed the winning drop goal with just 26 seconds left on the clock. The player still owns that garment, and Graham Budd think it extremely unlikely it will ever be sold, adding cachet to the sale item.

A shirt worn by his team mate, prop forward Phil Vickery, is also listed, with an estimate of £10,000 to £15,000.

The auction catalogue is currently live and it lists an impressive array of rugby items.

Alongside the winning shirts are 2 world cup final commemorative balls (the earlier one signed by the England squad) from 2003 and 2015. A pair of worn Johnny Wilkinson boots from 2003, with “Wilko” embroidered on the tongues, that are expected to fetch more than £7,000.

Rugby Union is not yet as collectible as football. These items represent the very top end of the market.

The most expensive rugby item ever sold at auction was probably Sir Gareth Edwards’ Barbarians shirt, in which he scored “the greatest ever try” in an invitation match against New Zealand at Cardiff Arms Park in 1973, It raised £240,000 at Cardiff this February.

Buying rugby union items could be good value for those who collect with investment return in mind. Since going professional, the sport has sought to expand globally, and this year’s world cup will focus attention on the game, which starts in France 2 days after this sale.

Graham Budd Auctions Rugby World Cup & Sports Memorabilia Auction is open now. Sales will take place on September 5 and 6.

Just Collecting