| The trophy that was sold on eBay. Telegraph picture |
Jorhat, May 8: A miniature piece of history from the halcyon days of the Assam tea industry went under the hammer before selling for $400 in the US a few days back.
The sterling silver 1918 tennis trophy, measuring 2.5inches in height and an inch in diameter with words “Goriajan 1918 Tennis” inscribed on it, belonged to the now defunct Goriajan Club in Golaghat district. Sterling silver is an alloy containing 92.5 per cent silver and 7.5 per cent mass of other metals, usually copper.
The item was put up for sale on the American multinational Internet consumer portal eBay last month and it was mentioned that the owner of the trophy is from San Diego, California. The portal had mentioned that the item was not to be shipped to India.
The seller who had put up the item on the portal had mentioned that it is the “smallest trophy I have ever seen other than a medal” and “any dark spots are shadows from the camera.”
The seller also mentioned that the item is a definite standout for your trophy collection or to be put with other small items. “A sure conservation piece”, it stated.
There were 37 bids for this historic trophy and it was sold on April 27.
There was not much history available about Goriajan Club, to which the trophy belonged, but the club was a famous watering hole for tea planters and British officers during those days.
A former tea executive told The Telegraph that a fire broke out in the office room of the club destroying all the documents pertaining to the club’s history and other activities. The history of the club disappeared with it.
He said the club, which started probably at the same time along with three other clubs in Golaghat district, Golaghat Club, Kakodoonga Club and Dhunseri Polo Club, was known for its polo ground, tennis courts, a golf course, and a swimming pool.
Of the three clubs in the district, only Dhunseri Polo Club still stands today and attracts planters from different parts of Assam. Sources said a few items belonging to Goriajan Club are in the possession of Dhunseri Polo Club.
Patronage of clubs located in the tea districts of Assam suffered a lot during the mid-Sixties when many tea companies were sold off but none suffered as much as the clubs located in Golaghat. The first casualty was Kakodoonga Club. Then it was the turn of Golaghat Club, which was situated right in the heart of Golaghat town.
Located near Badulipar railway station, about 3km south of National Highway 37, the Goriajan Club met a similar fate and was closed down completely during the Assam Agitation when the government requisitioned it for use by the paramilitary forces.
The tea executive said although he could not remember the names of the tennis trophies at Goriajan Club, he definitely remembers the prestigious Craig Cup Golf Trophy, which he had won twice. “I also played in the Hay-Mulvey Cup golf matches, held on alternate years at both Dhunseri and Goriajan clubs. I wonder where these cups are now,” he said.
He said the British officers took away many trophies and they did not return these trophies to the club before leaving the country. “The particular tennis trophy was probably one of those,” he said.