Rare NZ rugby photos up for grabs

The 1924 Invincibles perform the haka at Twickenham Stadium in London. Photo: Webbs (with...
The 1924 Invincibles perform the haka at Twickenham Stadium in London. Photo: Webbs (with permission) via RNZ
An online auction is being held selling rare New Zealand rugby pictures that were once thought lost forever.

Two hundred pictures from the archives of Fairfax's New Zealand papers are being sold by the collection's American owner.

In 2013, an American company which was digitising the collection went into receivership and the photos were eventually sold to a California art dealer, Daniel Miller.

Miller bought the entire collection of vintage photographs with the goal of repatriating them to New Zealand.

The head of art at Webbs Auction House, Charles Ninow, said the collection could sell for over $100,000.

''It's anybody's guess but I anticipate this collection will sell for over $100,000.''

He said the photos include one of the 1924 Invincibles doing the haka while touring the United Kingdom.

''The team went unbeaten for their entire 32 games on tour overseas and the image of them doing the haka is fantastic.

''There is also a fantastic photograph of a team called the Kiwis, made up of New Zealand soldiers serving overseas at the end of the Second World War, and before coming home they played matches in Europe.''

The collection also includes one taken during the first Test match between New Zealand and South Africa at Athletic Park in Wellington in 1937.

The pictures document the formative years of the national game and cover 30 years.

Ninow said while the photos are being sold individually, it is possible someone may snap-up the entire collection and they could end up overseas again.

He would like to see the photos stay in New Zealand.

''That was our aim in doing the auction here.

''It has taken quite some time to secure these photographs and my wish, and we would love to see these photos stay in New Zealand in the hands of New Zealanders.''

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