Don Bradman's first test bat to sell for $93,500 in Aussie auction

Collectors will have the chance to bid on cricket history when the first test bat used by legend Don Bradman comes to auction on May 21 in Melbourne, Australia.

Don Bradman First Test Cricket Bat
Bradman's test batting average of 99.94 is one of the greatest achievements of any sportsman

Selling as part of Mossgreen Auction's Sporting Memorabilia sale, the bat is sure to attract strong bids; Bradman is considered one of the greatest cricket players of all time, particularly revered in Australia, with Prime Minister John Howard calling him the "greatest living Australian" in 2001.

"Don Bradman stands alone as the greatest batsman of all time. His Test average is 99.94. All the other great batsmen have averages in the 40s. He has a wide popularity throughout the cricket world, but here in Australia he is considered the greatest ever Australian," Mossgreen's sporting memorabilia expert Max Williamson told Paul Fraser Collectibles.

Valued at $74,914-93,643, the bat stands as testament to his remarkable career, which saw him lead an Australian team dubbed "The Invincibles" to victory numerous times. Such was his uncanny skill, the England team developed a special set of tactics known as "Bodyline" to thwart his scoring.  

Used in his very first test match, against England, in 1928, the bat was donated by Bradman to the Sydney Sun newspaper in the 1930s for a competition. It remained with the boy who won the competition - George Lethbridge - until 2008, when it sold for $136,000 to an Australian collector who loaned it for display at Melbourne's National Sports Museum.

Adding to the bat's appeal for cricket fans is the signature of Bradman along with other members of the England and Australian teams.

Don Bradman's 1948 "Invincibles" tour cap sold for $374,500 at auction in 2008, making it the second most valuable piece of cricket memorabilia ever sold at auction, falling in just behind Samuel Britcher's cricket scorebooks.

In August 2013, a bat used by Bradman in his final first class innings in Australia made $45,715 - a 150% increase on estimate.

"The market for cricket memorabilia is quite large, and it has been a part of cricket for about 150 years. Cricket is unique in the fact that Tests play out over 5 days, and fans love surrounding themselves with cricket memorabilia," added Williamson.

The sports memorabilia market is booming, with record prices seen for a range of items recently. 

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