The Lonsdale belt awarded to Johnnie Basham in 1914, 1915 and 1916
Lot 30
The Lonsdale belt awarded to Johnnie Basham in 1914, 1915 and 1916
£ 30,000 - 35,000
US$ 39,000 - 46,000

Lot Details
The Lonsdale belt awarded to Johnnie Basham in 1914, 1915 and 1916 The Lonsdale belt awarded to Johnnie Basham in 1914, 1915 and 1916 The Lonsdale belt awarded to Johnnie Basham in 1914, 1915 and 1916 The Lonsdale belt awarded to Johnnie Basham in 1914, 1915 and 1916
The Lonsdale belt awarded to Johnnie Basham in 1914, 1915 and 1916
Mappin & Webb London 1909, the central oval enamel portrait of 2 boxers in the ring surmounted by Lion passant and 'NATIONAL SPORTING CLUB WELTER WEIGHT CHAMPIONSHIP' to the top with 'CHALLENGE BELT' underneath, flanked by hinged strap work too each side with 2 oval and 2 circular medallions, one each side of the central plaque with enamel figure of boxer, to left hand side with fight details on the first medallion engraved 'May 10th 1915,SERGt JOHNIEE BASHAM defeated SERGt TOM MCCORMICK 13 Rounds', second medallion '21st MARCH 1910 YOUNG JOSEPHS DEFEATED JACK GOLDSWAIN 12 ROUNDS FOR £500', third medallion 'DEC. 14th 1914, SERGt JOHN BASHAM Defeated JOHNY SUMMERS 9 rounds for £300', to the right hand side the first medallion engraved 'DEC 9th 1912 JOHNNY SUMMERS defeated SID BURNS 20 rounds £450', second medallion engraved 17th JUNE 1912 JOHNNY SUMMERS DEFEATED ARTHUR EVERNDEN 13 ROUNDS FOR £400', the third medallion engraved 'MAY 1st 1916 SERGt JOHNNIE BASHAM DEFEATED EDDIE BEATTIE 19 ROUNDS £475', with striped red, white and blue silk ribbon running the full length of approximately 85cm. Complete with the original blue velvet lined wood storage locking case and key. This belt, originally presented by the Earl of Lonsdale, was won in 1910 by Young Josephs, and in June and December 1912 by Johnny Summers. The latter lost in 1914 to Sergeant John Basham, who then retained it in two further contests in 1915 and 1916, therefore winning the belt outright.


  • John Michael "Johnny" Basham (born Newport 1890 – 1947) was a Welsh boxer nicknamed 'The Happy Wanderer' who became British and European champion at both welter and middleweight. His professional career spanned over 20 years, from 1909 to 1929. Basham was the first welterweight to win the Lonsdale Belt outright, successfully defending his British welterweight title on two occasions and also took the Commonwealth Welterweight title in 1919. His career was defined not only by his successes, but also through the death in the ring of opponent Harry Price. His first professional fight was against Boxer Ryan on the 18th of October 1909 in Newport. In 1912 Basham joined the Royal Welch Fusiliers and was stationed at The Barracks, Hightown, Wrexham. His move to North Wales resulted in most of Basham's fights now occurring either in Wrexham or across the border in Liverpool. Several of his fights were fought at The Barracks or in the Drill hall, Poyser Street, Wrexham.

    Basham's first title fight was held on the 21st of December 1914, a victory against Johnny Summers for the British Welterweight belt fought at the National Sporting Club giving Basham his first Lonsdale Belt. Basham's career slowed during the First World War as he was serving in the British Expeditionary Force in France, making competitive fighting difficult. Basham was one of a group of fighters, known as 'The Famous Six', who were an elite corps of Army Physical Training Instructors. The other five men were Jim Driscoll, Jimmy Wilde, Bombardier Billy Wells, Pat O'Keefe and Dick Smith. In May 1915 the National Sporting Club arranged Basham's first defence of his welterweight title, his opponent being Tom McCormick who had held the title briefly in 1914. The twenty round fight lasted until the thirteenth when Basham stopped McMormick through a technical knockout. In 1916 Basham defended his British title for the second time, again at the National Sporting Club in Covent Garden, facing Scotsman Eddie Beattie. The match went as far as the nineteenth before Beattie was stopped via a technical knockout.

    In later years Johnny was a poor man, when the American troops were in Newport during the last war Johnny would walk into a pub displaying his Lonsdale belt in the hope of them buying a drink for him, and the belt could often be seen displayed behind the bar. Johnny was a popular figure in Newport and the people of Newport rallied through a sportsmans' committee and organised a boxing tournament the proceeds of which were to have provided Johnny with a pension. But unfortunately just one week before the tournament Johnny died. There was a huge turnout for Johnny's funeral. A simple wooden cross marked Johnny's grave for 40 years until in 1987 a boxing tournament was arranged between Newport and its German twin town of Heidenheim. The ring was set up in Newport Centre, the advertising went out and by the end of the evening enough money was raised to pay for a handsome headstone.

    Provenance: Christies: The property of J.Carr esq., March 31st 1954 Lot 119, the lot includes the original catalogue from this sale. On Johnny Bashams death the belt was sold by his widow to the Reform Club in Newport of which he had been a member, and was subsequently disposed of by the club to the present owners family.

Saleroom notices

  • Please note this belt is hallmarked, 9ct gold.
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