The only rugby jersey belonging to All Black Jum Turtill (1880-1918) is going under the hammer in Cardiff next month.

Turtill was one of 13 All Blacks who lost their lives in World War I. The 114-year-old All Blacks shirt was worn by him in a match against Australia in 1905.

His jersey is expected to fetch somewhere between $55,000 and $75,000 at auction on March 1.

The vendor is Turtill's great-great grandson, who was also born in New Zealand and the auction includes Turtill's caps, as well as photos and other ephemera.

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Jum, real name Hubert Sydney Turtill, was considered one of the most gifted fullbacks of the Edwardian era. His number of All Blacks caps was curtailed to a single test as he became the infamous "dual-code player", switching to the All Gold rugby league professionals.

The shirt has an embroidered fern badge and the iconic stitched canvas quilt overlaid to the upper section, complete with original drawstring. Photo / Supplied
The shirt has an embroidered fern badge and the iconic stitched canvas quilt overlaid to the upper section, complete with original drawstring. Photo / Supplied

Originally born in London in 1880, just a few days after his father died, Turtill's family moved to New Zealand for a new life and settled in Christchurch, where he eventually fell in love with rugby and sport endeavours in general.

He started playing rugby as a wing forward in 1893. In 1898 he was fullback for the Christchurch Albion club B team and was promoted to the A team the next year at the age of 19.

Jum was also a competitive swimmer in his formative years and trained as a volunteer with the Christchurch Engineers Corps. He was also a keen competitor at rifle shooting competitions against other regiments. At 22 years old, he made his Canterbury debut as fullback, playing nine games that season. He was noted as a player with a lot of promise who "fields a ball in splendid style, and knows how to tackle".

In 1905, he was selected for New Zealand v Australia, which was the first test to be hosted in New Zealand and the first international to be played on the South Island.

According to the auction catalogue, the match venue was transferred from Dunedin's Caledonian ground to Tahuna Park because heavy rain had made the former unplayable and so it was watched by only 3000 spectators who braved the horrendous elements. New Zealand won 14-3 and it was said that Jum excelled with a perfect display of kicking and defending despite the conditions.

This was to be his only All Blacks cap.

A couple of years later, the All Blacks team was selected for a tour in England, an exciting prospect for Jum who wanted to visit his country of birth.

Jum was considered by the English sporting press as an artist at fullback, one of the great pioneers in the position. Photo / Supplied
Jum was considered by the English sporting press as an artist at fullback, one of the great pioneers in the position. Photo / Supplied

On their way, they stopped in Sydney where they defeated New South Wales three times in eight days, playing union rules. Then in Sri Lanka, they defeated Ceylon, also with union rules. It wasn't until they arrived in England that they learnt the league code.

On their tour of England, they played 35 league matches, winning 19 of them. Turtill excelled at fullback playing in all but two of the matches. Throughout the tour, the British press referred to the team as the "All Blacks" while the Southern Hemisphere press tended to use "All Golds".

Upon returning to New Zealand, they played an exhibition match at Wellington which was the first ever match of Rugby League in the country and captained by Turtill.

After that, he returned to normal life, working as a sheet metal worker and married Mabel Edith Hancock in 1908. In 1909 he lost his job and accepted an offer from St Helens, a club in Lancashire, with a signing-on fee of £200 and £2.2/- per game. He also set himself up as a tobacconist. He and Mabel had three sons born in England.

Turtill was considered by the English sporting press as an artist at fullback, one of the great pioneers in the position. He ran a pub in St Helens and was looking forward to a settled life as a well-known publican of the town. Then the war broke and everything changed.

He joined the Royal Engineers and was part of the Territorial Force the 422nd Field Company, which was under command of the 55th (West Lancashire) Division.

He was killed in action during the Great War, in Givenchy, France in April 1918. He was 38.

His All Blacks shirt, up for auction in Cardiff, has an embroidered fern badge and the iconic stitched canvas quilt overlaid to the upper section, complete with original drawstring.

The parcel also includes an All Blacks cap bearing fern with NZ cipher, complete with tassel. Also, a two-tone felt cap with tassel, bearing Canterbury crest and bearing internal label for J Ballantyne & Co, Christchurch. There's also an original photo of Turtill in the shirt, as well as a photo of his grave in France and a photo of a soldier in uniform (it is not clear whether that's Turtill). The parcel also contains two original caricature sketches of him in playing action, by the famous Beano cartoonist Reg Carter, both signed and dated 1908.

The lot will be up for auction on March 1, at 10am (GMT), at with Rogers Jones & Co Auctioneers in Cardiff.