Joseph Harry Williams played for Oswestry Town as a full back in the late C19th.

Oswestry Town, founded in 1860 as Oswestry United, was one of the founding teams of the Football Association of Wales in 1872 despite being an English team.

In 1884, eight of their players were Welsh.

Joseph also had a blink-and-you'll-miss-it international appearance against England at Wrexham's Racecourse on March 17 1884. Wales lost 4-0.

Despite the inglorious performance his team must have put in, the simple cloth badge designating Mr Williams as an international player has been carefully preserved and is expected to fetch thousands at auction early in 2010.

Such badges were the only notable reward players gained at that time for playing for their country.

There were no vast salaries, sponsorship deals or even standardised kit.

A player would have been given the badge a couple of weeks before playing and told to sew it into whatever shirt they intended to wear.

The auction will also offer something which probably represented a happier memory for Williams: a Welsh Cup winners' medal dating from the same year.

There are other items from his career including photographs available too.

The badge dominates interest though, partly because of rarity.

Most similar badges, used in this form for about 11 years, have gone the way of moths and carelessness.

The Football Association of Wales is interested as its museum in Wrexham does not own one, though Cardiff's Museum of Welsh Life does.

Previously, an 1891 football cap sold for £3,000. The 2010 auction will take place in Chester.

Sporting memorabilia is highly popular as a collectible. A Babe Ruth photograph and a Tiger Woods baseball cap, both with signatures, are currently available on the Paul Fraser website.

 

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