A who's who of All Blacks autographs
A rugby book worth thousands of dollars is the centrepoint of a St Patrick's College Town fundraising auction on Saturday evening.
The book, Centenary, was published in 1983 and details the first 100 years of the New Zealand rugby team.
What makes this copy so valuable is that its owner, St Pat's old boy Tim Reynolds, collected a Who's Who of All Blacks' autographs.
They include legendary figures such as George Nepia, Bob Scott, Colin Meads, Don Clarke and Sean Fitzpatrick.
St Pat's College development manager Loretta Love said it was difficult putting a value on the book.
"We're very grateful that Tim has donated the book," she said. "He has put a reserve of $2000 on it, but it just depends if some keen rugby fans want to get hold of it."
Reynolds, who has lived in Melbourne since 1992, set out in 1983 to get the autograph of every living All Black and went very close to achieving his goal, gathering hundreds of them.
"I was almost never turned down," he said, "and sometimes I spent quite a long time chatting to former All Blacks. It was very interesting.
"It got a bit more difficult with the more recent All Blacks. They didn't have as much time and sometimes it was hard knowing how to get hold of them, or getting access to them."
Besides taking the book with him all over New Zealand, Reynolds took the book to Australia and Britain to chase down some players.
Rugby broadcaster and historian Keith Quinn said he had never seen a better collection of All Black autographs.
"Many of the players who have signed have since died and in a way I suppose that makes the collection even more valuable," he said.
Looking through the book, Quinn remarked on the quality of old-timers' autographs.
"The players these days don't seem to worry too much about whether their writing is legible. It's often just a squiggle. But looking through this book, the autographs are done almost lovingly."
The auction will take place about 9.45pm on Saturday, during the St Pat's College Foundation annual benefit dinner. Funds raised will go towards upgrading the college science facility.
Love said prospective buyers could email their "best" bid before 5pm Saturday and would receive an update at 6pm indicating whether they had the leading bid.
They would then have one final chance to increase their bid, before the cutoff at 7.30pm. Email firstname.lastname@example.org.