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Eyes down for sporting auction

PUBLISHED: 05:00 18 January 2003 | UPDATED: 16:12 24 February 2010

THE grey tracksuit with the words Fisons and Umbro emblazoned across the top looks nothing special.

But in the eyes of some Ipswich Town fans the football clothing will be worth bidding for when it comes up for auction in Ipswich next month.

THE grey tracksuit with the words Fisons and Umbro emblazoned across the top looks nothing special.

But in the eyes of some Ipswich Town fans the football clothing will be worth bidding for when it comes up for auction in Ipswich next month.

It was owned by former player Paul Mariner and such is the fascination in sporting memorabilia developing in East Anglia that even experienced collectors, brothers Nick and John Barber, are not really sure how much it could be worth.

What it is lacking is the player's signature which would quickly push the price up but without that a reserve price of between £10 and £15 has been set. A similar price is earmarked for a pullover owned by Mariner.

''Everything has its price,'' said John, 33, of Fairfield Avenue, Felixstowe, as he looked over the items the pair have collected from people all over East Anglia after they put an advertisement in the East Anglian Daily Times appealing for memorabilia to auction.

Perhaps the top price of the day will be achieved by a season ticket book for the 1936-37 season. The book is in excellent condition, still has some unused tickets inside and was the first season ticket book for that season. The reserve price is £70 to £80 although the brothers believe bidding could go as high as £250.

''That's the great thing about an auction and why you love it – you do not really know what it will be sold for,'' said Nick, 37, who lives a few yards from his brother.

But it is unlikely that Town fans will be fighting over the signature of former player David Johnson. He put two goals past Town when they played at Nottingham Forest this season and his signed compliment slip may fetch as little as £1.

A very topical item is the Felixstowe Times Flood Special edition of February 7, 1953, packed with black and white photographs and detail about the tragedy when nearly 40 people drowned in the night time disaster.

A page full of Ipswich Town signatures from 1947-48 has an interesting background. Teams used to stay at the Great Northern Hotel, London, when they were playing matches in the capital and one employee filled an autograph book by collecting signatures from different teams. The pages have been torn out of the book and will be sold separately to appeal to fans of each team collected.

The family used to run a shop called Leisure Collectables close to Felixstowe Leisure Centre. They closed the shop this month after discovering that more people were interested in dealing on the internet. A position on the seafront was also too quiet for eight months of the year.

Now they are holding auctions to sell items on behalf of members of the public (they take 10% commission) and visiting different auctions and fairs to buy collectables. Nick has a merchandise company operating at speedway and stockcar tracks and he has been developing an interest in football programmes, autographs, tickets and handbooks.

John is a speedway fanatic – their father Colin Barber was Mildenhall promoter – and he is keen to see what price is fetched for a Wembley World Final speedway programme from 1937.

The family has discovered there are many people in East Anglia who take an interest in sporting memorabilia and there are other people who have hidden away programmes and other material in their lofts and do not have a clue about the prices they could obtain for them. They also like to match up collectors with elusive items they have been seeking.

The auction is on February 2 at 12.30pm at The Courtyard by Marriott Hotel, Ransomes industrial park, Nacton. The catalogue can be viewed at www.leisurecollectables.com/speedway

richard.smith@eadt.co.uk

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