Yesterday, HTBS received interesting information from two rowing historians, Tom Weil of Connecticut and Greg Denieffe of England, who both had been covering an auction by Bonhams in London. Up for auction was a rare rowing prize, the 1905 Pineapple Trophy Goblet, The Diamond Sculls, Henley Royal Regatta awarded to Frederick Septimus Kelly of Leander Club, who HTBS has written about earlier. According to Bonhams, the trophy was made by Walter, Michael & John Barnard & Sons, Hallmarked London 1905. 24oz. 8.75×4.25ins (22x11cm). The auction house also wrote about its history:
“First awarded in 1844, the Diamond Sculls ‘For Amateurs, open to All England’ was seen as the pinnacle of individual rowing. In 1850, the Diamond scarf pin prize was replaced by the Diamond Challenge Sculls, the winner being awarded a silver gilt pineapple goblet to retain. This tradition was continued at every regatta until 1973. This tradition has subsequently be reinstated, with all winners now receiving a cup to record their victory.”
Frederick Kelly (1881-1916) was born in Sydney, Australia, where he attended Sydney Grammar. Kelly later studied at Eton, where he rowed in the crew who took the 1899 Ladies’ Challenge Plate at Henley. He began to scull at Balliol College, Oxford, and won the Diamond Sculls 1902, 1903, and 1905 – the latter year beating Vesta RC’s Harry Blackstaffe in a new record time that stood for more than 30 years (the American Joe Burk beat the record in 1938). Kelly also became the champion of the Thames in 1903 after winning the Wingfield Sculls.
As a member of Leander Club, Kelly also won the Grand in 1903, 1904, and 1905; and the Stewards Challenge Cup in 1906. He then resigned from rowing to concentrate on his music studies, but was called back to compete in Leander’s famous crew, the ‘Old Crocks’, who became Olympic champions in the eight at the 1908 Olympic regatta in Henley. At the outbreak of the war, Kelly joined the Royal Naval Volunteer Reserve and was killed in the great Battle of the Somme in 1916.
Kelly’s 1905 Pineapple Trophy Goblet was sold at Bonhams for £3,800 (exclusive of premium and VAT).
Special thanks to Tom Weil and Greg Denieffe for all the information! Photographs of the Pineapple Cup from Bonhams cataloque.