A SILVER tea service presented to football legend Sir Stanley Matthews to mark his record cap for England is up for sale online.
Nicknamed ‘the wizard of the dribble’, Sir Stanley made his 44th international appearance in the 2-0 win against Belgium in January 1946.
He was presented with the service by Stoke City shortly before he moved to Blackpool after what the press described as a ‘bust-up’ with manager Bob McGory.
The outside right would later return to Stoke where he played in the top flight until he was 50.
His tea set consists of a teapot, hot water jug, sugar bowl and milk jug and each piece is monogrammed with ‘SM’.
The teapot is also inscribed with the words: “Presented by Stoke City Football Club to their player S Matthews in recognition of his creating a record of 44 appearances for England which he established when playing against Belgium on January 19th 1946.”
Sir Stanley died in 2000 at the age of 85.
The items are being sold by Charles Wallrock of Lymington-based Wick Antiques on the 2Covet antique portal, of which he is a director.
His fellow 2Covet director Steve Sly, who was previously co-owner and vice chairman of AFC Bournemouth, has pledged the first £1,000 of the asking price if the service were bought for Stoke City.
The tea set was made by Pidduck & Sons of Sheffield in 1932 and is of a fine quality.
Mr Sly, who is from Bournemouth, said: “I’d love to see it go back to Stoke. Having been involved in the game I know how much these things are valued by the fans.
“Matthews was one of our greatest ever players and I was delighted to learn that he played at Bournemouth when representing England schoolboys against Wales in 1929 in front of 20,000 fans.
“He is the only footballer ever to be knighted while still playing, and his list of achievements is as long as his playing career and includes being the first person to win the Ballon d’Or.
“It is fitting that he was presented with a tea service because the only time he drank alcohol was when he supped some champagne straight from the FA Cup after winning it in 1953 – the famous ‘Matthews Final’.
“After his record 44th cap he went on to represent his country another ten times and finally retired from playing in 1965.
“Afterwards he became a manager and coach all around the world and gave up much of his time to coach in poor parts of Africa.
“This tea set is a wonderful historic item which is of interest to collectors of silver and of tea sets – but it’s of most interest to Stoke City fans.
“If there is a pledge to buy it for Stoke I will put in £1,000.”
Charles Wallrock added: “I have had this for several years and decided it’s time to sell.
“It is a lovely silver tea service by a fine maker and of course it’s unique because of the inscription and who it was presented to.
“I agree with my co-director and we would feel very proud that 2Covet had helped this unique historical artefact return to its home at Stoke FC.
“Our portal 2Covet has an extremely wide range of antiques, art and collectables and in September the business is organising the return of the historic Chelsea Antiques Fair.”
Wick Antiques was established by Charles Wallrock in the early 1980s. Having grown up in the Antiques world Charles developed an extensive wealth of knowledge.