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The first bat ever used by Sir Donald Bradman in a Test match is set to be auctioned in Melbourne next week. Used by Bradman on debut at the Brisbane Exhibition Ground against England in 1928, the bat did not provide Bradman with the finest start to a Test career - he scored 18 and 1.
The bat, described as a full-size "Duke and Son - Warren Bardsley", was later used by Bradman in scoring twin centuries for New South Wales. He donated the bat to a competition run by the Sun newspaper in Sydney in 1930 to raise money to endow a Don Bradman Cot for the Royal Alexandra Hospital for Children.
For more than 70 years, the bat was owned by the same family who won the competition. It sold at auction in 2008 for A$145,000, when an Australian collector made the purchase and put the bat on display at the National Sports Museum at the MCG. The bat was signed by Bradman as "DGB", believed to be because he had not yet become accustomed to signing his name for autograph-hunters.
"He hasn't sort of become himself yet and been asked to sign a lot of autographs since he's not totally in the public eye," sports memorabilia historian Tom Thompson said. "It's a good example of the man before he's about to go on a meteoric ride."
There are another 46 signatures on the bat, including 19 members of the 1928-29 England team and the entire Australian team. The bat will go to auction on May 21.
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