The Manchester United and England footballer was killed in the Munich air disaster in 1958 and items collected by his fiancee were put up for sale
09 March 2022
More than 40 items including photographs and letters belonging to a rising Manchester United star killed in the Munich air disaster sold for over £40,000 at auction.
Duncan Edwards was just 21 years old when the plane carrying the team crashed on its third attempt to take off from the Munich-Riem airport runway in poor conditions on February 6 1958.
The players and a number of supporters and sports reporters had been returning from a European Cup match in Belgrade, Yugoslavia, when the plane stopped in Munich to refuel.
Twenty people were pronounced dead at the scene and although Edwards was pulled from the wreckage alive he died in hospital 15 days later. The final death toll was 23.
Edwards already had 18 caps for England and was tipped as a future captain when he was killed.
His fiancee Molly Leech, aged 22, rushed to Germany to be at his side in hospital, and after his death returned home with only his belongings.
Molly, who died in 2004 aged 68, never parted with the items but her daughters put them up for sale with Northamptonshire-based auction house Graham Budd.
Among the collection were letters from well wishers, photographs, his overnight bag and football programmes.
Edwards’ family album with photos of his Manchester United and England football career, such as portraits, match shots, moments with his teammates, as well as some from his national service, were bought by a UK-based private collector for £12,400.
A get well card from Manchester United teammate Bobby Charlton to Molly sold for £10,540 and Edwards’s overnight bag fetched £6,820.
While a group of personal items and memorabilia linked to Molly’s travel to Munich after the crash was bought by a collector for £5,456.
A quantity of religious medals sent to Molly by well wishers fetched £3,224 and a life insurance policy taken out by Edwards less than three months before his death sold for £2,728.
Molly’s daughters, who wish to remain anonymous, said: “Our mother Molly first met Duncan one Saturday evening at Ringway Airport, which is now Manchester Airport.
“In the 1950s, many people would go to the airport to watch the planes! She came from Manchester and worked in an office there. They were very much in love but very private and ordinary people.
“They enjoyed playing cards and tennis, he liked fishing – she always spoke about him with great affection.”
One daughter continued: “I just can’t imagine what my mother must have gone through when she had to go to Munich. It was such a sad and awful part of her life – she was just 22.
“She died in 2004, at the age of 68. Our father died three years ago and although we did keep in touch with, and visited, Duncan’s mother, we are one step removed from the story and we would like his legacy to continue.”
Adam Gascoigne, chief executive of Graham Budd Auctions, said: “We are delighted that all the lots sold. The prices achieved are a reflection of the uniqueness and story behind this wonderful collection.”