Lymington antiques company selling silver tea set presented to Stoke City football legend Sir Stanley Matthews
A SILVER tea service which once belonged to footballing legend Sir Stanley Matthews is being sold by a Lymington antique company for £22,500.
The set was presented by Stoke City FC to mark his record 44th cap for England.
Nicknamed the "wizard of the dribble", Sir Stanley received the memento after his appearance in a match against Belgium in 1946.
The tea set was made by Pidduck and Sons, of Sheffield, and includes a teapot, hot water jug, sugar bowl and milk jug all monogrammed with the initials ‘SM.’
The items are being sold by Charles Wallrock, of Wick Antiques, on the 2Covet antique online marketplace of which he is a director.
His co-director Steve Sly, who was previously co-owner and vice-chair of AFC Bournemouth, has pledged to pay £1,000 of the £22,500 asking price if the service is bought for Stoke City.
Mr Wallrock said: “This tea set is a wonderful historic item which is of interest to collectors of silver, but it is of most interest to Stoke City fans.
“It is a lovely tea service by a fine maker and, of course, it’s unique because of the inscription and who it was presented to.
“I would feel very proud if 2Covet helped this unique historical artefact return to its home at Stoke City FC.”
Mr Sly added: “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.”
Sir Stanley played another 10 times for England and finally retired from playing in 1965. He went on to become a manager and died in 2000 aged 85.
The tea set also has the words engraved: “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.”