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Colin Veitch England caps and badge

Caps and a badge once worn by the legendary Newcastle United captain and England international Colin Veitch are to be sold at auction.

Born in Heaton in 1881, Veitch captained the successful United side which won League Championships in 1905, 1907 and 1909, then the FA Cup in 1910. The team were also FA Cup finalists in 1905, 1906, 1908 and 1911, and represented England on six occasions.

Now two England football caps, from 1906 and 1907, and an England jersey badge will be sold at Anderson & Garland's upcoming Collectors’ Auction on Thursday 17 December.

Veitch was lauded as one of the cornerstones of the Newcastle United’s Edwardian success. Described as “a man who is the master of his job”, he scored 49 goals in 322 appearances.

He played for Newcastle until the outbreak of the First World War, when he joined the British Army and reached the rank of 2nd lieutenant. After the war he returned to Newcastle as a coach and in 1924 set up the Newcastle Swifts, the pioneering version of today’s Newcastle Juniors.

Away from football, Veitch was a great lover of the arts, a skilled playwright, actor, conductor and composer. He co-founded the People's Theatre in Newcastle in 1911. He was also a leading activist in the Players’ Union.

The England caps were on loan to Newcastle United for 28 years and displayed in the St James's History Museum, as well as the Newcastle Breweries guest room. The 1906 cap was exhibited in the Discovery Museum’s 2014 'Toon Time' exhibition to coincide with Colin Veitch being inaugurated into the Newcastle United Hall of Fame.

The caps and badge currently belong to Gateshead father-of-three William Hetherington, who was gifted the collection in 1964 by Colin Veitch’s widow Greta, a professional actress who was well-known in the Gateshead area due to her role as a drama organiser for local schools.

Mr Hetherington of Low Fell said: “My mother taught at St Mary’s Infants in Gateshead and she and the head mistress, Doris Weaver, were great friends with Greta Veitch, who would organise the children’s drama show at Gateshead Town Hall each year.

“Mrs Veitch used to take a great interest in me and, as I don’t believe she had any children, she gave me the caps and badge in the early 1960s.

“I became a passionate Newcastle United supporter as soon as I was old enough to go to games. While I knew the caps were special, it wasn’t until I was older I truly understood their importance.

“I loaned them to Newcastle United for many years and they have been on display in various locations. I used to see them in a case in the guest room at the Newcastle Breweries on occasion when I visited for functions.

“I’m now 73 and would like to see the caps to go to someone who will appreciate them and preserve them because they are an important part of the history of the club.

“Some young people today might not know who Colin Veitch was, but he was like the Bobby Moore of his generation and was once listed as number four on the Chronicle’s list of 100 greatest Geordies – one place above Alan Shearer.”

Anderson & Garland Auctioneers Director Fred Wyrley-Birch said: “Colin Veitch is one of, if not the, greatest Newcastle United players who ever played.

“Veitch also played for England on six occasions from 1906-1909. What happened to the other cap dated 1909 is a mystery, if it exists at all.

“We are expecting a great deal of interest in this incredibly special collection, as it’s not every day the opportunity comes up to own such an important piece of Newcastle United and England’s sporting history.”

The historic items are tipped to sell for between GBP800 and GBP1,200 in lot 633 at the auction on December 17th.

Also up for sale is a set of rare local team collectors’ cards.

Lot 910 comprises seven late 19th Century Ardath Tobacco North East football interest collectors' cards, featuring the teams Heaton Stannington F.C.; Alndale F.C.; North Sunderland F.C.; Felton F.C.; Cramlington Welfair F.C.; Hexham F.C.; and Thornaby Amateurs F.C.

Established in 1840, Newcastle-based Anderson & Garland is the leading firm of fine art auctioneers and valuers in the North of England and the Scottish Borders and one of the largest independent auction houses in the UK.

It holds approximately 40 auctions a year, including specialist categories such as British and European pictures, modern art, Asian works of art, silver, jewellery, ceramics and glass, coins, watches, clocks, scientific and musical instruments, militaria, furniture, works of art, comics and sports memorabilia.

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