Four-minute mile stopwatch put up for auction

A stopwatch used to time the first sub-four-minute mile by Sir Roger Bannister is being sold by Graham Budd Auctions on May 18 as part of a Sports Memorabilia sale.

The auctioneer’s estimate is £5,000-£8,000.

The timepiece was used by W. J. Burfitt on May 6, 1954, in Oxford, as Bannister ran the first sub-four-minute mile. He was one of five official timekeepers on the day.

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The stopwatch is a Swiss made chrome Nero Lemania stopwatch, accurate to 1/10th of a seconds. It has an outer dial to 30 seconds, inner dial to 60 seconds, and an upper-central dial for 30 minutes. It is being sold in its leather carrying case.

It also has an invoice for repairs made out to Mr Burfitt; Burfitt’s personal copy of the O.U.A.C. programme from the day signed by Roger Bannister; and a signed copy of Roger Bannister’s autobiography First Four Minutes.

The stopwatch used on the day by the chief timekeeper, Charles Hill, was bought by the author Lord Archer for £8,855 at an auction at Bonham’s in 1998 and donated to Oxford University Athletics Club.

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