FOOTBALL programmes were the mainstay of this mixed book, card and ephemera sale for Acorn Auctions in Trafford Park, but though one job lot of two dozen Manchester United programmes of 1960s-80s vintage did sell for £620, a similar number of single sheet programmes of 1945-46, valued at up to £2000, failed to sell, and for once it was Manchester City who came out on top.
A programme printed for a 1920 Central League game against Liverpool had card covers that were stained and otherwise defective, but this was a special programme, issued to commemorate the visit of King George V, and it was bid to £1300.
This really is a big money field nowadays and regularly sees prices that are to the uninitiated or uninterested, almost incomprehensible – especially where the glamour clubs are concerned. A menu for an official dinner held at the Midland Hotel in celebration of a match between Manchester United and Athletico de Bilbao sold at £460 without the benefit of any signatures, but it was dated February 1957 – and that, I think, is significant.
In 1955, Chelsea, as league champions, had been invited to take part in the first European Cup but while Hibernian, representing Scotland went on to reach the semi-finals, Chelsea pulled out of their first game at the last minute, under pressure from the Football League, who also opposed Manchester United’s decision to enter the following season’s competition.
‘Busby’s Babes’ reached the semi-finals before being beaten by another Spanish side, Real Madrid, but one year later, most of them were killed in the Munich air crash.
The little clubs do well too. A single 1929 programme for a match between Belfast Celtic and Distillery was sold for £260! A letter written by William Ward in 1804 from the Victory, explaining to his parents that he had been pressed into service, was sold for £175 and two late 18th century share certificates for 5/- each in the Old South Sea Annuities and The South Sea Company reached £350.
Postcard albums included one of 200 cards that was strong on Cheshire, the Isle of Man and actresses and sold for £760 where just £80-90 had been expected, while periodicals included Picturegoer for the year 1922, bound as two volumes, at £160.
Books included a Macquoid and Edwards Dictionary of English Furniture..., a three-vol. revised and enlarged edition of 1954 in frayed jackets, at £520 and H. Davis Richter on Floral Art-Decoration and Design, a 1932 book with tipped in colour plates, which sold for £150.
Acorn Auctions, Manchester, February 5
Buyer’s premium: 15 per cent