Cricketing fanatics the Beige Brigade are looking to team up with the New Zealand Cricket Museum to bring some Martin Crowe memorabilia home.
Thirty items from Crowe's career - including the bat he scored his last century with - will go under the hammer in Sydney next month. They are being sold by his movie star cousin Russell, as part of a 227-strong collection including movie memorabilia, that he is selling as he prepares to divorce wife Danielle Spencer.
Sotheby's estimates the collection, entitled "The Art Of Divorce", could be worth around $3.8 million.
The auction will be on Crowe's 54th birthday - and his wedding anniversary. He told Australia's Daily Telegraph the sale was "cathartic", and a way to "create space for the future".
Beige Brigade co-founder Paul Ford said he had talked to the Cricket Museum to see what could be done about buying some of the items.
"We'll be in touch and see if there is some way we can put some money in the donation jar and these things can make it home," Ford said.
The museum's director Jamie Bell told the Herald on Sunday they would do all they could to buy some of the memorabilia.
"Having been set up to preserve the nation's cricketing taonga, we would, obviously, love to take these items into our care.
"However, we have extremely limited resources, especially when it comes to the finances required to purchase items.
"We heavily rely on people's generosity in donating their treasures to us. The unknown final price and competitiveness of auctions further adds to the challenge.
"That being said, we would love to see these return to New Zealand and will happily work with anyone who would like to see that happen," Bell said.
Ford had had a look at the collection online: "The [item] that caught my eye was Martin Crowe's bat that he used to score his 17th test century at Old Trafford; that was probably the pick of the crop in terms of NZ cricket.
"Obviously with the great man not around, it would be a nice piece of memorabilia to repatriate."
The Gunn and Moore bat is inscribed with "Last Test 100 (17), 115 vs. England, Old Trafford 1994", with "MDC" – Martin David Crowe – initialled at the top of the handle.
The item is expected to sell for between $3800 and $4800.
Meanwhile, Martin Crowe's sister Deb Crowe said the auction decision was made in conjunction with the family.
"The family are very comfortable with the decision made by Russell to include some of Marty's gear in the auction.
"They knew and support Russell in his decision, made in consultation with the family," she said.
Martin Crowe died of lymphoma in March 2016 at the age of 53.
Ford said most of the money the Brigade had for buying memorabilia was spent when it bought the "underarm" ball.
The Brigade's collection features the likes of Australian, Zimbabwean, Pakistan and beige Black Caps uniforms.
Ford said that if they won the bat at auction, they would be open to lending it to the museum to put on show for the public.
"We don't have too many legends so it would be nice to have their special bats close to home," he said.
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