Antiques & Fine Art, Cardiff

Fri 09 October 2015, 11:00 AM - Cardiff Saleroom, South Wales

Antiques  & Fine Art, Cardiff

Lot 1

A New Zealand International Rugby Union jersey from their 1905-1906 tour of British Isles, France and USA, match-worn by legendary tour captain and New Zealand war-hero, Dave Gallaher - widely regarded as ‘The Father of All Blacks Rugby’. The shirt has the embroidered New Zealand fern badge and the stitched canvas overlay to shoulders, upper chest and back area. It is complete with leather v-shape neck-line. Provenance: After the Wales v New Zealand test match in Cardiff in 1905, New Zealand captain Dave Gallaher and Wales captain Gwyn Nicholls were witnessed by a reporter of the South Wales Daily News to be exchanging compliments and handshakes. They also exchanged their jerseys. For many years, Gwyn Nicholls stored the jersey at his business premises, a laundry company based in Llandaff North, Cardiff. Thomas John Mahoney a keen sportsman and general sports fan was employed at the laundry company as a ‘van boy’ and because Gwyn Nicholls was aware of Thomas Mahoney’s enthusiasm for sports, the jersey was gifted to him. It remained within the family of Thomas Mahoney until now and is being offered at auction by his family. Value: The family of TJ Mahoney have decided that this is the right time for them to sell the jersey. Because of this the jersey has been entered with a nominal reserve. Our estimate is based on previous auction prices for All Blacks jerseys from the 1905 tour. History and background to Dave Gallaher and the 1905 tour: Dave Gallaher’s position was generally wing-forward but he also played as hooker. He started playing at his home-town Katikati, South of Auckland and then for Parnell rugby club from 1890. However, his rugby career started in earnest with Ponsonby District Rugby Football Club in 1895. In 1896, he was selected for Auckland province and his first New Zealand cap came on their tour of Australia in 1903, where he was selected for the touring-side’s first ever test match against Australia in Sydney. Gallaher played thirty-three times for his country, winning six test caps, he retired from playing in 1906 to become a coach at Ponsonby and become the sole selector for Auckland province, later becoming a New Zealand national selector for seven years in an extremely successful period. In conjunction with Billy Stead, Gallaher’s vice-captain of the 1905-1906 tour, the pair composed ‘The Complete Rugby Footballer’ (1906) a seminal text for the game of rugby union. Without player-vote, Dave Gallaher was controversially nominated as captain for the 1905-1906 legendary tour of British Isles, France and USA. The team was the first New Zealand Rugby Union to tour outside of Australasia, they played thirty-five matches, winning thirty-four of them, scoring 976 points and conceding only fifty-nine. The touring side became known as ‘The Originals’ and for the first time the nickname ‘The All Blacks’ was used by the British Press. The success of the tour helped cement Rugby Union as New Zealand’s national sport and commenced a ‘new order’ of world rugby which has rarely been threatened in 100 years. Wales versus The Originals, in Cardiff, is regarded as one of sport’s greatest matches with over 47,000 spectators at the Arms Park. Even before kick-off the match had become a landmark game when the Welsh supporters sang ‘Hen Wlad Fy Nhadau (Land of My Fathers)’ in response to the New Zealand player’s stirring performance of the haka. It was the first time a national anthem had been sung before a sporting fixture. There had already been a degree of controversy leading up to the test, particularly in relation to the choice of referee John Dallas, and with regards to the tactics New Zealand had brought with them to the Northern Hemisphere including the role of Gallaher as a roaming wing-forward which many remarked as unsporting with the intent of obstructing opposition players. The controversy continued as the game developed with decisions seeming to go against The Originals. As the referee struggled to keep up with play, there was a ‘try that never was’ and the half-time whistle was reported to have been blown early when Wales were under pressure. Wales were the victors 3-0. Dave Gallaher was born in Ramelton, Co Donegal in 1878. At the age of five he and his family migrated from Ireland to a planned Irish/Ulster settlement in Katikati, south of Auckland in the North Island of New Zealand. In the 1890s he took employment at the Auckland Farming Freezing Company as a labourer where he was to rise to the position of foreman. It is thought that the work helped him build upper body strength and kept him fit. In 1901 Gallaher’s rugby was interrupted as he joined the Sixth New Zealand Contingent of Mounted Rifles for service in the Anglo-Boer War with the objective of ‘…ridding the Northern Transvaal of Boer guerrillas…’ under the command of General Herbert Plumer. Gallaher was appointed as an advance guard, scouting ahead of the main force of men and in 1901, he was hospitalised in Charlestown, Natal with malaria. In a letter to his sister dated 18 October 1901, he wrote ‘….we have a fair share of the fighting all the time and I am still alive and kicking although I have had a couple of pretty close calls, one day I thought I would have to say good bye to old New Zealand but I had my usual luck and so came out all right’. Whilst in South Africa, Gallaher reached the rank of Squadron Sergeant Major and was awarded the Queen’s South Africa Medal and King’s South Africa Medal. He returned to New Zealand in August 1902. Fifteen years later, ten years after retiring from playing rugby and at the age of forty-two, Dave Gallaher returned to the battlefield. Exempt from conscription due to age, Gallaher enlisted voluntarily for action in the First World War. His younger brother Douglas had already been killed in the conflict. Gallaher left for Europe in February 1917 and on arrival was promoted to the rank of sergeant. His unit fought in the Battle of Messines, near La Basse Ville, later preparing for the imminent ‘Passchendale Offensive’. In the attack of Gravenstafel Spur on 4 October 1917, Gallaher was mortally wounded when a piece of shrapnel penetrated his helmet. Dave Gallaher was posthumously awarded the British War Medal and the Victory Medal. He is buried in grave No, 32513 at Nine Elms British Cemetery, west of Poperinge. In 1922 Auckland Rugby Football Club introduced the Gallaher Shield. Ponsonby, Gallaher’s old club, have won the title more than any other team. Internationally, France and New Zealand compete in the Dave Gallaher Trophy, first awarded on Armistice Day in 2000. In 2011 a bronze statue of Gallaher was unveiled outside Eden Park, the home of New Zealand rugby. Gallaher has been inducted into the International Rugby Hall of Fame, the World Rugby Hall of Fame and the New Zealand Sports Hall of Fame In 2005, at Gallaher’s Irish birthplace, the name of the ground of Letterkenny RFC was changed to the Dave Gallaher Memorial Park. In view of the life-story of Dave Gallaher, his profound influence on New Zealand rugby union and his general significance within New Zealand history and culture, while taking into account the impact of ‘The Originals Tour’ and the Wales test in particular, this jersey could rightly be regarded as a ‘Holy Grail’ of New Zealand rugby shirts

Guide price
£20000 - £40000

Hammer price £180,000.00