Selections & Collections

Fri 14 June 2019, 10:00 AM - Cardiff Saleroom, South Wales

Selections & Collections

Lot 1

AN HISTORIC NEW ZEALAND RUGBY UNION CAP FOR WILLIAM `BILL` CUNNINGHAM (1874-1927) - AN IMPORTANT MAORI & ORIGINAL ALL BLACK PLAYER¦¦The cap in black velvet with attached silvered tassel, silver New Zealand fern and `NZ` and with embroidered dates for representation 1901, 1905, 1906, 1907 and 1908¦Bill Cunningham was one of the Originals who toured British Isles, France and the North America in 1905 with Dave Gallaher`s famous team. Cunningham, a lock with super scrummage ability, played in 23 of the 32 matches and played in three Test matches on the tour, against Scotland, Ireland and France. Due to injury Cunningham was not available for the famous Wales match which was the only defeat on tour for The Originals.¦¦Born near Te Awamutu, Cunningham originally played club rugby in Waihi, in the Coromandel region. Lying within the Auckland Rugby Football Union`s boundaries, he was selected to play for Auckland province in 1899 and continued to represent the side until his retirement in 1913. He was first picked for New Zealand in 1901, and played against New South Wales that year, but was not selected again until the 1905 Originals` tour. ¦¦After the tour he continued to represent New Zealand in both 1907 and 1908. Affiliating to Rongowhakaata, he was a member of the first ever New Zealand Maori team in 1910, and played for them again in 1912. On retirement in 1913 he had appeared for Auckland 45 times, and for New Zealand 39 times.¦¦Intriguingly Bill Cunningham was the grandson of the famous New Zealand founder-father Thomas Halbert, a whaler and trader from England who landed in Poverty Bay in 1832. Bill was born at Rangiaowhia, near Te Awamutu, on 8 July 1874, son of Hera (Sarah) Ngaihika Halbert and her second husband, James Cunningham. Hera was the daughter of Thomas Halbert and Keita Kaikiri, who belonged to the Rongowhakaata a Maori iwi of the Gisborne region of New Zealand North Island. He married Ethel Minnie Dance of Waihi on 23 September 1907 and the same year, Ethel gave birth to their son, William Henry Cunningham, but he died at only a day old. This was the only child the couple had. ¦¦Cunningham was very physically fit, strong and agile for a forward. With Billy Stead, he was one of only two Maori in the 1905-06 All Black side, Cunningham was able to speak the language. ¦¦Provenance: fresh to the market and entered to our auction by a family living in Auckland, New Zealand. Handwritten letter to accompany the cap outlining the route of the cap to the family via Great Uncle Robert Wylie `Dick` McGregor, a friend of Bill`s and fellow New Zealand capped player with Auckland. Also present a facsimile congratulatory telegram dated 1906 from Dick to Bill

Guide price
£1200 - £1800

Hammer price £7,000.00