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Benjamin Warren (1879-1917) who played for Derby County and Chelsea, and also played 22 games for his country.

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Born in Newhall, Derbyshire, and scouted while playing as a junior, he emerged as one of England’s highest-rated half-backs, playing for Derby County (one of the 12 founder members of the Football League in 1888) for eight years from 1899 and for Chelsea from 1908-11 before a knee injury ended his career.

Warren played 22 games for his country. Included in this archive was his first full international maroon cap (for a match played against Ireland in Belfast in February 1908) sold together with the cloth ‘three lions’ badge from his shirt and original photographs of Warren and his team. Estimated at £850-950, it took £1000 (plus 24% buyer’s premium).

An England cap from the game on November 2, 1911, played against Ireland at the Baseball Ground (home of Derby County from 1895-1997) sold at £1350. A ticket from the same game was a rarity. This example, with the corner neatly torn off for entry, doubled up as Warren’s itinerary for the weekend. The rear has details of his hotel for Friday night and the schedule for match day. It made £750.

A rare red and white striped England trial shirt made by Gamages, sold together with a postcard dated 1900-01 showing Warren and the rest of the team wearing the kit, sold at £750.

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England cap awarded to Benjamin Warren, sold for £1000 at Stacey’s.

Poignant item

Warren’s life was ultimately a tragic one. When injury halted his source of income, his mental health suffered. Among the most poignant items in the sale was a letter written in February 1914 by Chelsea FC to Warren’s wife who struggled financially after her husband was certified insane and admitted to an asylum in Derbyshire.

The letter, sold for £150 at Stacey’s on March 30, refers to series of benefit matches that were played in April that year – one attracting 15,000 spectators. Warren died three years later of tuberculosis.