Medals owned by 3rd Earl Spencer and ex-Northampton Town FC coach set to go under the hammer

Relic dating back 200 years and souvenirs from a glittering football career are among items due for auction by Dix Noonan Webb

Friday, 28th May 2021, 10:00 am
Above: The 3rd Earl Spencer's silver racehorse medal. Below: Two of John Jennings' medals from being part of an FA XI team to play Canada in 1931. Photos: Dix Noonan Webb

Medals owned by the 3rd Earl Spencer and a former Northampton Town Football Club coach are being auctioned next week.

John Spencer (1782-1845) and John Jennings' (1902-97) former possessions are among the items to go under the hammer by Dix Noonan Webb on Wednesday and Thursday (June 2 and 3).

The earl, known as Honest Jack Althorp because of his reputation for integrity, owned a unusually-shaped silver relic with a racehorse and 'Northampton' in capitals above on one side and 'Ld Spencer' on the other.

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More of John Jennings' football medals. Photo: Dix Noonan Webb

While ex-Cobblers trainer earned several awards during his football career, including coaching the Great Britain football team at the Olympic Games in 1952, 1956 and 1960.

Peter Preston-Morley, head of coin department at the London-based auctioneers, said: “Earl Spencer enjoyed a love for the turf and horses from an early age.

"Race meetings were staged unofficially at Northampton Heath in the 17th century but were regularised in the late 1730s by the Earl Spencer and in 1737 the first official meeting took place.

"New grandstands were erected in 1844, but before then the racecourse had the dubious reputation for also being used for public executions.

More of John Jennings' football medals. Photo: Dix Noonan Webb

"Racing ceased in 1904 after a fatal accident involving spectators.”

Earl Spencer was an MP successively for Okehampton, St Albans and Northamptonshire from 1804-34, serving as leader of the House of Commons and chancellor of the exchequer from 1830-4.

He is considered by many as the architect of the fight to pass the Reform Bill in 1832 and was described as 'the most decent man who ever held high Government office'.

Honest Jack entered the House of Lords in 1834 and became the first president of the Royal Agricultural Society in 1838.

His medal is being sold as part of a deceased estate, not from the Spencer family and is expected to fetch between £800 and £1,000.

Mr Jennings' football career encompassed spells with Wigan Athletic, Cardiff City, Middlesbrough, Preston North End and Bradford City before becoming a coach at Northampton Town.

The Wigan-born trainer also worked as a railway fireman - his medals are being sold by private vendor and carry an estimate of £1,500-2,000.

The two-day sale will comprise 950 lots in total including several sports and photography-related awards and items.

Free online bidding is available at dnw.co.uk. For more information, call 020 7016 1700.