As another year draws to a close, I would like to thank all Contributors to the re-launched Subbuteo News for their content. I’ve enjoyed reading every article and hope you have too. The idea to re-launch Subbuteo News came about during the first Lockdown when so many of us were reconnecting with our Subbuteo roots. During the past 18 months many of us have also reconnected with old friends, and the renaissance the game is currently enjoying is unparalleled since the giddy days of yesteryear. Old players returning. New clubs forming. Prices of old Subbuteo soaring. It’s been quite an 18-months. The English Subbuteo Association has played a very active role during this period endeavouring to bring together all members of the Subbuteo family under one umbrella. Under the leadership and guidance of Justin and Alan the ESA has not been so active and well supported for many, many years. This issue of Subbuteo News will be ‘my’ last one, as next year I will pass the reigns over to a new Editor, and move sideways to work on how we as a Board can build on our successes and take the beautiful game to another level. Thank you for your support and keep on flicking! Bob Varney.
The Joy of Collecting. Introduction by Peter Upton
Subbuteo collecting is a 21st century, internet driven phenomenon. Of course, there were trailblazers before this. Paul Lloyd launched the first collectors' club from the pages of Subbuteo Scene issue 12 in autumn 1993. Richard Payne published the book "Fifty Years of Flicking Football" in 1996. However, when I was collecting in the 1990s, I was a general Subbuteo collector by default. It was impossible to focus on a single era or sport. My Subbuteo came in dribs and drabs from car boot sales, or general toy collector fairs, where kids from the "plastic toys" era scarcely had a look-in between the die cast, tinplate, and the lead. I picked up what I could.
Nowadays, my old avenues have mostly been closed. Subbuteo at boot fairs is hoovered up (along with anything else of value/interest) by an army of early morning snatchers. Dealers at toy fairs tell me, "All my Subbuteo goes online, where Italians buy it".
Instead, the would-be collector heads for ebay, where a Subbuteo search can bring up 10,000 items on a good day. Impressive yes, but overwhelming.
If you don't know where to start, you've come to the right place. This series of articles is designed to give knowledge, and ideas. I aim to show how different styles of collection can be built up relatively cheaply, whilst highlighting some expensive centrepiece items that you can show off to your friends!
This month, I'll start with some basics.
The big plus for Subbuteo collectors is that the game was designed to be stored in its original boxes. For most toy collectors, boxes are rare and expensive, and they bring a huge premium. Action Man, Star Wars, Timpo, Dinky etc, you played with the toy and you threw away the box. Subbuteo was not like that. Okay, so some kid has misspelled "Crystal Palace" on the lid, and there are a bunch of scores written inside, but boxes are common, and it makes our collections look ten times better.