ULTRA-RARE SANDOW BARBELL FOUND

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Tom Balchin
Posts: 61
Joined: Mon Feb 01, 2016 7:10 pm

ULTRA-RARE SANDOW BARBELL FOUND

Post by Tom Balchin » Sat May 06, 2017 8:12 pm

Hi everyone,

I've made a major discovery - a Sandow barbellThis is quite a story, so I'll start at the start... I became aware of a gym owner in County Down, near Belfast in Northern Ireland, who was selling two globe barbells. I got in touch with him and offered to buy them - and then told him more about my collection. Then he told me he had a third one which he valued more because it had Sandow written on, but that he'd sell that to me. Then I asked him to let me know any history of what he could tell me of the three barbell, and a FASCINATING story emerged:

<These barbells were purchased over 10 years ago by myself from an old friend and former local strength athlete & boxer (David Balloch Ferguson) in Bangor. David was downsizing to a residential home after the death of his wife and I purchased these of him for display in my gym (The Brickhouse Gym). 2 of the barbells were used by 'The Great McAlpine' in local circus and sideshows. He used to twirl around neck and throw these up like a baton and balance on head, etc during shows and invite audience members to 'feel the weight' before he started.
The 'Sandow Barbell' was a gift to McAlpine from Sandow after he viewed one of his shows (enclosed photo of embossed Sandow barbell. David Ferguson purchased these barbells from the McAlpine family in the 1980's. The barbells are a mixture of bronze, copper, cast metals with possibly shot in 2 of them.

In the meantime, I'd found an article about McAlpine online, written by his friend, David Ferguson..

http://www.newtownards.info/mcalpinr-the-great.pdf

<Absolutely delighted you've been able to find Davy's article, I've not read this before. Sadly Davy passed away a few years ago, he was a great 'tale teller', character and gentleman. He loved writing his articles, poetry and painting. He was an avid trainer and trained right up into his 70's - he still bench pressed 200lb in his 70's! He would loved to have seen your collection I'm sure and would be delighted at knowing his article will now be placed there. Given were these items are now going, I'm happy to also now 'throw in' a pair of period 'posing' dumbells which Davy had got from McAlpine also, to your museum as a donation. It's the right place for them. I loved the video link you sent and am impressed with the museums contents.>


So - I've seen a LOT of barbells and never seen, even in any picture, a barbell with the Sandow logo on. I have seen, as many will have also, the very rare dumbbell that was found was found in a bricked up room that was a gym used by Sandow and King George V - here in the UK, in Norwich. I saw this on a Jordan Fitness page. So I knew this Sandow mark did exist on a bell. I asked David Horne if he'd ever seen anything, even in pics, which was a barbell, and like me, he hadn't. No one seems to have. Have a look - this is a very rare bell:
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Last edited by Tom Balchin on Sat May 06, 2017 8:45 pm, edited 1 time in total.

Tom Balchin
Posts: 61
Joined: Mon Feb 01, 2016 7:10 pm

Re: ULTRA-RARE SANDOW BARBELL FOUND

Post by Tom Balchin » Sat May 06, 2017 8:17 pm

The bells: just arrived
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Tom Balchin
Posts: 61
Joined: Mon Feb 01, 2016 7:10 pm

Re: ULTRA-RARE SANDOW BARBELL FOUND

Post by Tom Balchin » Sat May 06, 2017 8:20 pm

To own McAlpine's bells is quite something - and to own a barbell with provenance direct from Sandow himself is really amazing. I asked the seller (Ricky) if he would mind if I highlighted his name in the provenance and he said that was fine - so, with the Sandow bell, we have:

Eugen Sandow gives it to Bob McAlpine

David Balloch Ferguson, a great friend of McAlpine's, acquires the barbell

Ricky McCamley acquired the barbell from David Ferguson

Tom Balchin acquires from Ricky McCamley
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Tom Balchin
Posts: 61
Joined: Mon Feb 01, 2016 7:10 pm

Re: ULTRA-RARE SANDOW BARBELL FOUND

Post by Tom Balchin » Sat May 06, 2017 8:24 pm

Close up of bell -
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Tom Balchin
Posts: 61
Joined: Mon Feb 01, 2016 7:10 pm

Re: ULTRA-RARE SANDOW BARBELL FOUND

Post by Tom Balchin » Sat May 06, 2017 8:27 pm

Interesting to note is that the Sandow mark is reversed per globe: as you can see in the two pics below...

I suspect we're going to wait a long while before another marked Sandow barbell emerges - if ever. I really like the McAlpine story. Here's pics of McAlpine's globe barbells joining the collection ;)
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Tom Balchin
Posts: 61
Joined: Mon Feb 01, 2016 7:10 pm

Re: ULTRA-RARE SANDOW BARBELL FOUND

Post by Tom Balchin » Sat May 06, 2017 8:28 pm

McAlpine bells
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Tom Balchin
Posts: 61
Joined: Mon Feb 01, 2016 7:10 pm

Re: ULTRA-RARE SANDOW BARBELL FOUND

Post by Tom Balchin » Sat May 06, 2017 8:30 pm

Also
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Tom Balchin
Posts: 61
Joined: Mon Feb 01, 2016 7:10 pm

Re: ULTRA-RARE SANDOW BARBELL FOUND

Post by Tom Balchin » Sat May 06, 2017 8:36 pm

McAlpine lived in Newtownards which is just minutes from Ricky, the sseller The bells were prob not used in the circus in the '40s through the '70s but in and around 1910 to 1913.. I think, anyway...

http://www.newtownards.info/mcalpinr-the-great.pdf

Tom Balchin
Posts: 61
Joined: Mon Feb 01, 2016 7:10 pm

Re: ULTRA-RARE SANDOW BARBELL FOUND

Post by Tom Balchin » Sat May 06, 2017 8:37 pm

The Great McAlpine
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Tom Balchin
Posts: 61
Joined: Mon Feb 01, 2016 7:10 pm

Re: ULTRA-RARE SANDOW BARBELL FOUND

Post by Tom Balchin » Sat May 06, 2017 8:43 pm

Very rare dumbbell found in a Norwich manor house in a boarded up room which was used by Sandow himself as a small gym - the only other known bell of any sort found which bears Sandow's mark.
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