Collingwood legend Nathan Buckley forced to auction off footy memorabilia after divorce

Georgina Noack
The Nightly
4 Min Read
Collingwood legend Nathan Buckley has been forced to sell is AFL memorabilia after his divorce, including grand final guernseys (including this 2003 kit).
Collingwood legend Nathan Buckley has been forced to sell is AFL memorabilia after his divorce, including grand final guernseys (including this 2003 kit). Credit: GSP Images/AFL Photos/GSP

Collingwood legend Nathan Buckey has been forced to sell a treasure trove of personal AFL memorabilia, including the guernsey he wore in his historic Norm Smith Medal-winning performance in Collingwood’s 2002 grand final loss, after the end of his 18-year marriage.

Match-worn jumpers, playing socks, tracksuits, signed footballs and playing cards are among more than 200 items listed in “The Nathan Buckley Collection” by Melbourne auctioneers Leski Auctions.

Auctioneer Charles Leski said Buckley was “unlikely” to ever sell the prized possessions were it not for the end of his marriage in 2020.

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Mr Leski said the collection was curated under “very emotional” circumstances.

He told The Nightly he worked closely with Buckley and historians at Collingwood to produce a catalogue that would “tell a story” about “a hero of the game”.

“He was an extraordinary player and achieved extraordinary things and it was important to pay homage one of the greats of the game,” the auctioneer said.

Mr Leski said that although the catalogue went live on Friday, April 12, it has already drawn 30,000 views — tenfold the number other pages of sporting memorabilia for sale often draw.

“I am used to seeing sporting memorabilia have two or 4000 views, but to have this much attention already — for whatever reason — really shows what a notable figure he (Buckley) was and is in the game,” he said.

A number of pieces from his playing days at the Magpies are on offer to bidders, including his framed guernsey from the club’s 2002 grand final defeat to the Brisbane Lions.

Despite the loss, Buckley won the Norm Smith Medal for his “best on ground” performance in the game — it is an achievement that has only happened on three other occasions in VFL and AFL history.

The starting bid for the jumper is $2400, but it is estimated to sell for between $3000 and $5000.

Nathan Buckley is selling the guernsey he wore when he won the Norm Smith Medal in the Magpies' 2002 grand final defeat to the Brisbane Lions.
Nathan Buckley is selling the guernsey he wore when he won the Norm Smith Medal in the Magpies' 2002 grand final defeat to the Brisbane Lions. Credit: Supplied

Another of Buckley’s grand final guernseys is up for auction: the black and white lace-up jumper he wore in Port Adelaide’s SANFL victory over Glenelg in 1992. He was awarded the Jack Oatey Medal for his best on ground performance in that grand final, too.

The 1992 win was the cherry on top of a “barnstorming season” for Buckley, Leski notes, in which he also won the Magarey Medal and Port’s best and fairest for the season.

A $2600 bid has already been placed on the prison bar jumper, which is estimated to sell for between $3000 and $5000.

Nathan Buckley is selling a number of guernseys he has worn throughout his football career, including two worn in best on ground grand final performances (L: Collingwood, AFL 2002; R: Port Adelaide SANFL, 1992)
Nathan Buckley is selling a number of guernseys he has worn throughout his football career, including two worn in best on ground grand final performances (L: Collingwood, AFL 2002; R: Port Adelaide SANFL, 1992) Credit: Supplied

But, much to the surprise of the auctioneer, the copious number of Collingwood kits — including signed guernseys from his milestone games, as well as training shirts, match-day home and away uniforms — have not captured the attention of prospective bidders.

“I thought the Collingwood shirts and gear would be the most popular, but it is actually his guernseys from his time in the Northern Territory and South Australia and Queensland (1993 State of Origin) kit that seem to be the most sought-after,” My Leski said.

Among the framed guernseys, Buckley has included his Allies kit — worn in the 1996 and 1997 State of Origin series — his commemorative 1993 Rising Star guernsey, and a number of kits from 1998, 1999 and 2008 International Rules clashes.

Buckley has also listed his many ‘Player of the Year’ awards — including his 2003 Lou Richards Medal — as well as a signed and framed composite guernsey created to commemorate the 2003 Brownlow Medal three-way tie between Buckley, Marh Riccutio and Adam Goodes.

Some of the items have already had bids placed on them, including footy shorts, Collingwood kit bags, a Brisbane Bears branded Driza bone from 1993, tracksuits, and signed Sherrins from Buckleys’ milestone games.

The collection even extends beyond AFL, with Buckley selling off signed cricket, Rugby League and Union gear.

Also among the miscellaneous lots is a custom-made jersey made “by a group of friends to try to get Buckley to play on their indoor soccer team” — it has already received a bid for $40.

Mr Leski said while registered bidders can place opening offers now, the memorabilia will be auctioned on May 1.

Buckley and his wife Tania Minnici split in late 2020, the year that the then-coach of Collingwood spent much of the season interstate due to COVID restrictions.

He stepped down from his role as the Pies’ senior coach in mid-2021 after holding the position since 2012, ending a storeyed career with the club, which started in 1994 after being traded from the Brisbane Bears.

Buckley played 260 games with Collingwood between 1994 and 2007, captaining the club from 1999 until he retired. He won six club best and fairest awards, seven All-Australian Team nominations, a Brownlow Medal, and was an original inductee into the Collingwood Hall of Fame in 2004.

The 51-year-old has since transitioned into commentary with Fox Footy and is widely considered one of the greatest AFL players in the game’s history.

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