A 1960s ‘pudding basin’ helmet, worn by legendary racer Mike Hailwood in numerous Isle of Man TTs and circuit races, is expected to achieve in excess of £4,000 at Silverstone Auction’s MotoGP event on 11 June. Offered with all its scratches and dents, including a mighty scrape with the annotation ‘Brands Hatch 1963’, the multiple-worn hand-painted helmet from nearly ten years of Hailwood’s extraordinary career, is a piece of ‘bike-racing history.
“This helmet has a thousand tales to tell,” says Silverstone Auctions automobilia expert Guy Loveridge. “Hailwood was a remarkable racer, both in ‘bikes as well as moving successfully to Formula One and sports cars and, of course, sadly he’s passed away. Items like this at auction command significant interest.” However, for collectors of sporting memorabilia, it may surprise that a hero’s signature isn’t always enough to ensure the highest prices. What’s important, says Guy Loveridge, is the history of that particular item.
“A football shirt signed by Diego Maradona is desirable, but if it’s the 1986 shirt Maradona wore in the ‘Hand of God’ World Cup tie, it adds tens of thousands to the value,” says Loveridge. I know of an England team player, Steve Hodge, who swapped shirts with Maradona post match and has turned down £150k for it.”