Toulouse - A stunning collection of 735 rugby jerseys and 62 related items from 69 countries will go under the hammer in Toulouse on Thursday.

The collection belonged to Bernard Chwartz, a solicitor from the southwestern French region who passed away in 2009.

"It's one of the biggest sales of rugby jerseys and items ever organised in the world," auctioneer Remy Fournie told AFP, highlighting rarities such as a Cornwall county cap dating from the 1901-2 season and a Wales jersey from 1904.

Chwartz's daughter Celine added: "Rugby was a passion for him before becoming a subject of collection in the later years of his life."

The collection is split into 524 lots and includes the jersey of Christian Carrere, captain of the first France team to win the Grand Slam in the then-Five Nations, in 1968.

There are also jerseys that once belonged to Australian legend David Campese, former English flyhalf Jonny Wilkinson, All Blacks Andrew Mehrtens and David Kirk, South Africans Victor Matfield and Tiaan Strauss, as well as a New Zealand jersey signed by the 1987 World Cup-winning team.

While all traditional rugby powerhouses are well represented, the aucion also features jerseys from a raft of lesser-known countries such as Saudi Arabia, Austria, Thailand and the Bahamas.