PRIZED medals of a former Aston Villa captain are going under the hammer – after being discovered buried in the rubble of a demolished Birmingham bank.
The football memorabilia belonged to Alex Leake, who captained the club from 1902 to 1907 and who once famously blew the whistle on a match-fixing scandal.
The half-back, who won five England caps and also played for Birmingham City predecessors Small Heath during his career, died in 1938.
His family placed his treasured honours, including an FA Cup winner's medal, in a security vault at a branch of Barclays in Coventry Road, Sheldon.
But when the building was demolished in the 1960s staff forgot to empty the vaults – and the prized medals were lost in the ruins.
Incredibly, they were unearthed years later by children playing at the site. They tried to use the medals to buy ice creams but the stunned ice-cream seller handed them over to police and they were reunited with the family.
The medals are now being put up for auction in the Jewellery Quarter on Monday.
The footballer's great-grandson, also called Alex Leake, said: “The family always knew that the medals were in the bank vault and assumed they were safe and well.
"We just assumed the medals had been moved somewhere for safekeeping.
“Luckily, the ice cream man must have realised they were valuable and alerted the police who traced them back to my great-grandfather and returned them to the family.”
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