Eric Knowles Eric Knowles, Antiquarian

Football Memorabilia

Last year I sold a Manchester United shirt signed by David Beckham at a charity auction for the grand sum of £3,000. Should you look for a shirt of a slightly older vintage then what about Bobby Moore's 1970 World Cup shirt worn in the game against Brazil. The shirt has an almost iconic status as Bobby exchanged it with the great Pele after our 1-0 defeat in the group 3 match.

So what price for arguably one of the most important shirts in the history of the game? Well, according to Max Dunbar of Christies, significantly more than £3,000. Christies presale estimate is a cool £50,000-£70,000 which might be regarded as conservative when compared with the £157,750 paid in 2002 for Pele's 1970 World Cup Final shirt. If you are on the lookout for a Pele shirt Christies March 24th auction has the maestro's 1959 Brazil shirt worn in a friendly against England estimated at £8,000-£12,000.

Geoff Hurst's 1966 World Cup Final red England shirt is the second most expensive to be offered at auction when it sold back in 2000 for £91,750. It's all the stuff of dreams for any football fan to own the shirt of his or her hero, whether International or Conference league. Speaking of heros, one of mine is the former Burnley and Northern Ireland wizard, Jimmy McIIroy. When his 1961 versus Rheims shirt was offered at auction the club snapped it up at £4000. Never bid against your club.

Football memorabilia is by no means limited to second hand shirts although no supporter in their right mind would ever bin their team's out of date shirt - collectable market of the future mark my words. As an auctioneer at many a charity bash how I wish I had a £10 note for every signed team ball that I've sold. Record price £32,900 for the ball used at the 1888 FA Cup West Brom v Preston NE. Autographed team photographs or those of individual star players are another charity favourite. Value is often determined by a mixture of fanaticism and a good bottle of wine.

When it comes to shirts, medals and caps the late Billy Wright comes top of the list when part of the former England and Wolves captain's collection sold for £134,550. It's sad to reflect the amount paid would probably represent more than great player's such as Illy, and his equally talented contemporaries, would earn in their entire careers. It does beg the question even more when you consider the £13,800 paid for a pair of red, black and white Adidas Predator football boots worn by David Beckham in the 97 - 98 season.

And how I wish I had thought twice about throwing out all those match programmes that seemed to be stuffed into every drawer. Football programmes today can fetch substantial amounts. Most can be picked up for less than £10 although Cup Finals always command a premium. The 1915 FA Cup Final played at Old Trafford, Manchester between Sheffield United and Chelsea has to be the ultimate collectors item selling at auction in 1997 for £11,270. United won 3-0.

Players international caps are always popular. George Cohen's 1966 World Cup hat sold back in 1998 for £11,500 whereas 'Hat-trick' Geoff Hurst's attracted a bid of £37,600 two years later. Cup and League winners medals are also keenly sought after, often by the relevant clubs initially involved. Everton's Dixie Dean's 14ct gold 1933 Cup Winners medal found a winning bid of £18,212. Spurs legend Danny Blanchflower's 1961 Division 1 Championship medal was auctioned back in 2001 for £15,525.

Christies have managed to come up with what just might prove to be the ultimate piece of all football memorabilia - the oldest existing FA Cup. In use between 1896 and 1910 it replaced the original stolen in 1895 from a shop window in Birmingham. It will be offered on 19th May est £200,000 - £300,000.

Finally Dave Robinson of London asks about his 1966 World Cup Final programme. A good many appear to have survived and a clean match day copy is worth about £120.

Glory Days !


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