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Sale of 20th century football memorabilia charts history of club football

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An extensive range of football ephemera is coming up for auction at West Midlands auction house Cuttlestones’ Specialist Collectors’ Auction on Friday, 18th May 2012; providing a fascinating insight into the heritage of club football in England and Europe. Whilst memorabilia from local club Wolverhampton Wanderers makes up a significant proportion of the lots, items marking the highs and lows of some of the world’s biggest club football institutions also feature. Cuttlestones’ Wolverhampton Auction Room Manager, Tom Waldron, says:


Cuttlestones’ Tom Waldron with just a few of the
football-related lots for sale at Cuttlestones’
18th May Specialist Collectors’ Auction.

I’ve found it fascinating researching and cataloguing all of these items. I’m a Wolves fan, so naturally have a soft spot for the items relating to my team, but it was amazing seeing lots that are directly linked to the legendary players and matches that you grow up hearing about. Many of the items date from the 1950s and 60s, so mark the halcyon days of the game that evoke so much nostalgia. We’re expecting plenty of interest, both from fans of the individual teams represented and more general collectors of football ephemera.”

The star of the show is set to be a signed Wolverhampton Wanderers team football dated 1939, and carrying the signature of the most successful manager in Wolves’ history, Stan Cullis. Cullis was at that time still a player, and his signature appears alongside that of Wolves and England legend, Billy Wright. The ‘David Beckham’ of his day, Wright was captain of club and country, marrying pop singer Joy Beverly of the Beverly Sisters during a time when celebrity football marriages were certainly not the norm. It was through Wright’s taste for glitz and glamour that the vendor’s father came by the football. He and Wright developed a friendship whilst they both worked at Molineux and, when the former went to work at the Grand Theatre, Wright gave him the ball as a gift during one of his frequent theatre visits. Given its starry history and the fact that it carries the autographs of two such illustrious figures in Wolves history, the lot is valued at £300-£500.

Wright’s glittering career is also charted in the various 1950s and early 60s Wolves and England programmes up for auction. This was Wolves’ golden era in terms of domestic honours won and one lot of note is a 1960 F.A. Cup Final Programme Wolves V Blackburn (Wolves won 3-0), together with newspaper clippings from the Sporting Star, and a Sporting Star report on the 1949 F.A. Cup Final Wolves v Leicester (which Wolves again won, this time 3-1). Another particularly interesting lot consists of a collection of Billy Wright interest Wolves and England ephemera, including a signed 1950s Wolves autograph book containing his signature, as well as a programme from Wright’s 100th England cap; he was the first England player to reach the milestone, in a match against Scotland in 1959. The final outstanding Wolves lot is a collection of 1950s Wolves programmes against various European clubs, both home and away.

Away from Wolves, there are also three European Cup Final programmes that are likely to cause quite a stir. These include a rare 1957 European Cup Final official programme for Real Madrid vs Stade Remis, together with a 1960 Eurpoean Cup Final official programme for Eintracht, Frankfurst vs Real Madrid. Valued at £60-£80, they are particularly significant as Real Madrid are the most successful team in the history of the European Cup (now the Champions League), with the 1959 fixture programme particularly poignant as it marked the club’s fourth consecutive title. The third is a 1968 European Cup Final Programme of Manchester United’s famous 4-1 victory over Benfica, together with two other European Cup programmes from that campaign.

On a more sombre note is the inclusion of a 1957 Manchester United v Luton Town programme. This was United’s penultimate home fixture prior to the 1958 Munich Air disaster, in which a number of the famous ‘Busby Babes’ were killed. The tragedy is still annually commemorated by the club and attracts attention from its own niche group of memorabilia collectors.

Other items coming under the hammer include a vintage pair of Steve Bloomer football boots, valued at £40-£60; a 1949 England v Scotland programme valued at £20-£40; various programmes covering the last 40 years of Wolves’ history and a good number of programmes from 50s and 60s for teams that include Manchester United, Liverpool, Aston Villa, Arsenal and Stoke City to name just a few.

Full details of all these lots, and the other lots within the football section at Cuttlestones’ Friday, 18th May Specialist Collectors’ Auction will be available on the online catalogue at from Friday 11th May. Online, commission and telephone bidding options are available for those unable to attend the sale in person. In the meantime, for further information call Tom Waldron on 01902 421985.

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