Punching above weight – community reaps rewards of sporting memorabilia

23 December 2021

More than $63,000 has been raised at an online auction of memorabilia by Ipswich City Council thanks to the pulling power of sporting legends Muhammad Ali and Sir Donald Bradman.

Signed Ali boxing gloves and a photograph of the former heavyweight champion went under the hammer and was sold for $2,900

A hand-signed, framed Bradman cricket bat and ball was close behind with a winning bid of $2,800.

Mayor Teresa Harding said the auction of almost 400 items generated more than $63,000 in total for the City of Ipswich.

“This is a fantastic result, a real win for the community with this money set to go back to the people through contributions to community programs,” Mayor Harding said.

Council set up the Memorabilia Project in 2021 with a view of disposing items that had been collected over many years from a controversial past.

A number of items were believed to have been bought over the years by previous councils with ratepayers’ money or were donated to council.

“The new Ipswich City Council chose to close the door on another chapter of the past by selling memorabilia items and donating others to community groups and charities,” Mayor Harding said.

“In total, 369 items were sold at auction this month with a previously estimated value of almost $54,000; 190 of those items were sporting memorabilia.

“This is community money, and this council is determined to ensure no matter their history, these items are disposed of transparently in line with community expectations and in a manner that benefits our community into the future.”

The top items and winning bids from the auction included:

*             Muhammad Ali signed boxing gloves $2,900

*             Sir Donald Bradman signed cricket bat and ball $2,800

*             Sir Donald Bradman signed cricket bat $1,700

*             Mount Blanc Pens collection $1,367

*             Rugby League Team of the Century signed jersey $1,230

*             Ali and Sonny Liston signed photograph $1,020

*             Tag Heuer Aquaracer quartz watch $1,000

Mayor Harding said all auction figures would be posted on council’s Transparency and Integrity Hub when the memorabilia project is completed in March 2022.

“This council from day one has been about openness and accountability, all bids and associated costs, plus the final amounts realised will be posted on the hub as soon as they are finalised,” Mayor Harding said.

“The public told us this is what they wanted to see, our community reference groups and general feedback from the community indicated widespread support for the sale of these items with the money going to a good cause.”

Council will soon establish a Special Community Funding Program, with money from the auction assisting Ipswich community organisations. Details of the funding program will be released in 2022.

Items that weren’t sent to auction have been distributed to community organisations and the public.

Mayor Harding said it was also significant to note that as a result of the auction, project reunite and donation events no items have been sent to landfill by council.

“I am delighted at the success of this project and the outcome. People were able to bid on items from as little as $1 through to the Ali gloves which fetched the top amount of $2,900.

To follow updates on the funding program, go to council’s Shape Your Ipswich online site.