Popular wartime fullback’s football trophies and memorabilia to go under the hammer in Harborough
The auction will take place at Gildings Auctioneers at 10am on Tuesday October 10. The collection – expected to fetch between £4,500 and £5,000 - includes two family-compiled scrapbooks of newspaper clippings and photographs dating from Dai Jones’ 14-year career at Leicester City.
It also includes Jones’ 9-carat gold Football League Division Two Champions’ medal, dating from the 1936 to 37 season when Leicester City was promoted to Division One - the highest level league at the time. Jones was the only team member who played in every single match in the campaign.
Gildings director Will Gilding said: “This rare medal is an evocative symbol of a time over 80 years ago when Leicester City achieved what they are attempting today - triumphing in the second tier of English football.
"Whether the current team will retain their great form in the modern Championship to beat the 1936-37 squad's success by regaining their place in the top flight in just one season very much remains to be seen, but we're pleased this medal will be finding a new home with a new custodian who will appreciate its original owner's key part in Leicester’s success nearly nine decades ago.”
The rest of the collection commemorates Dai Jones’ international career with Wales and features a rare Welsh cap, a silver-plated Welsh dragon table lighter and trophy awarded to Jones following Wales’ wins in the British Home Championship - the home nations tournament which ran for 100 years from 1883.
Jones, who was born in Cardiff in 1910 and died in Oadby in 1971, signed to First Division Leicester City from Clapton Orient – now known as Leyton Orient – in 1933 for £250, which led to the press naming him as Leicester City’s best ever bargain signing.
Dai Jones’s hard work, cheerful personality and versatility on the pitch made him a sporting celebrity, with him featuring on a collectable cigarette card for the tobacco company Ogden's. His popularity with Foxes fans was sealed in 1935 when he withdrew from a Wales international fixture to play a crucial match against Tottenham Hotspur.
Following his football career, like many Leicester residents Jones worked in the local shoe manufacturing industry and was a partner at the Leicester firm of Day & Jones (Leather Factors), where he was working at the time of his death.
Dai Jones made almost 300 appearances for Leicester City. He played with the Foxes until the first post-war season in 1946 to 47, where he scored Leicester’s opening goal of the campaign in their third game against West Ham United. Despite serving in the RAF during World War Two, Jones made 54 wartime appearances for his club.
Will added: “Currently, we are seeing great demand for sporting memorabilia. With it being our national sport, this is especially true for football. So, it’s particularly interesting to have items from so far back in Leicester City’s history from a very popular and talented player who was described as ‘the smiling footballer who laughs his way through the whole 90 minutes.’”