Why football memorabilia is a great investment goal


The Euro 2020 football tournament has kicked off and no matter how teams perform, investors can still be winners by collecting related memorabilia

Lasting memories: Items that invoke past moments of football glory and heartache can be valuable and worth collecting

Lasting memories: Items that invoke past moments of football glory and heartache can be valuable and worth collecting

The Euro 2020 football tournament has finally kicked off – just a year late. But no matter how teams perform on the pitch, investors can still prove to be winners by collecting related memorabilia. 

Items that invoke past moments of European football glory and heartache can be valuable and worth collecting. 

Daniel Wade, manager of auctioneer Paul Fraser Collectibles, says: ‘Nostalgia is a key driving force in the popularity of football memorabilia. The most memorable in recent history is the Euro 1996 tournament.’ 

It had many magical moments – such as a wonder goal from Paul Gascoigne when England beat Scotland 2-0. 

Another epic moment was the penalty shoot-out between England and Germany that resulted in heartbreak for all English fans. Wade says: ‘An unworn match issue shirt with Gascoigne’s name on the back can fetch at least £1,500. 

‘Even a programme of the first match when England drew 1-1 against Switzerland sells for £30.’ But Wade warns the market is full of fakes, and that collectors must seek provenance to avoid pitfalls – such as accidentally buying a replica shirt. 

This means using a reputable dealer such as Sportingold, Graham Budd Auctions or Paul Fraser Collectibles, and obtaining an authenticity guarantee. 

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Football memorabilia collector Robert Stein believes the first European tournament – when the Soviet Union beat Yugoslavia in the final 2-1 in 1960 – is of particular historic interest. 

A mint condition finals programme can cost as much as £1,000. This tournament was known as the European Nations Cup. 

It consisted of four teams who made it to the finals after two years of preliminary contests between 17 different countries. It was expanded to eight teams in 1980 and 16 in 1996. London-based Stein says: ‘I love some of the match tickets produced for a number of the most memorable Euro games. 

‘One of these was the final for the Euro 1976 tournament – when Czechoslovakia beat West Germany on penalties with a delicate Antonin Panenka chip. Used tickets for this great match can sell for £300.’ 

Prices for tickets of later Euro finals, such as in 1996 when Germany exacted revenge with a 2-1 win over the Czech Republic, only sell for £15 because more football fans kept them as mementos. 

Medals are among the most valuable collectables – though former soccer stars rarely part with these cherished awards. 

Stein believes if a legendary player such as Dutch captain Ruud Gullit were to sell a winning gong, it would go for at least £10,000. Gullit led his team to the Euro 1988 football final, winning 2-0 against the Soviet Union. 

A bronze medal picked up by England’s Roger Hunt in the European football championship of 1968 – when the team beat the Soviet Union in a losers’ final – sold for £2,200 two years ago.

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£700 TO FILL UP A STICKER ALBUM

Fans tempted by the lure of filling a Panini football album with stickers of tournament players including England’s Harry Kane, above, should be wary how an innocent looking hobby can cost more than £1,000. 

The Euro 2020 album requires 678 stickers for it to be complete. Each packet of six stickers costs 90p. Yet even if every single sticker you pulled out of the packet was different, you would still have to buy 113 packs – which would mean paying £101.70. 

Unfortunately, the mathematical odds of this happening are virtually nil because of duplicates. Using the laws of probability, boffins at the School of Mathematics at Cardiff University have calculated that with average luck you would expect to fork out more than £700 to complete an album. If unlucky, it could be as much as £2,000. 

The best way to avoid buying duplicate stickers is to swap with other collectors or through trading online via a website such as eBay. If still struggling, you can buy up to 50 individual stickers from Panini paying 28p each. Collectors can draw comfort from the past: three years ago, a World Cup Mexico 1970 Panini album that was missing six stickers sold for £1,550.

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