Rugby memorabilia originating from historic matches, talented colourful players and unforgettable moments is always sought after by collectors and enthusiasts, demand tends to increase at the time of a World Cup series and during Internationals; however this would equally apply to collectables from Test Cricket at Lords, Wimbledon Tennis and Masters Golf.
Lots of people attend Rugby matches both Union and League, some lucky ones get to participate in the game. It is important to understand the divisions of Rugby Union and Rugby League
A perception of class division between Rugby Union and Rugby League has been seen in the past with Rugby Union regarded as the middle class gentleman’s game where the players do not require or often need financial recompense and Rugby League a professional league where things are run on a more commercial basis with all expenses and wages paid to the players.
Way back in 1895 the RFU who supported strict amateurism, in their wisdom expelled 12 Northern clubs over allegations of financial inducements; these clubs formed the independent Northern Union later to become the Rugby Football League.
Over the years the laws of Rugby League Football gradually changed which has led to a faster flow of play which is both spectator friendly and entertaining. However for many including myself Rugby Union will always be the game of choice.
Rugby League memorabilia is very popular in the Southern Hemisphere whereas Rugby Union collectables are the preferred choice in the majority of other rugby playing countries, however the serious collector will usually consider carefully selected Rugby Union collectables as his first choice.
The collector should pay particular attention to Rugby memorabilia associated with the All Blacks, British Lions, England, Wales, Scotland, Ireland and South Africa.
Some of the rugby memorabilia I have collected over the years has originated from the following examples:
Barbarians victory over the All Blacks at Cardiff Arms Park in 1973.
The Irish win at the atmospheric Thormond Park against the All Blacks, it was their only defeat during the 1978 tour.
The 1954 British Lions tour of Australia and New Zealand when the Lions won the two Test matches against Australia then lost the Internationals against the All Blacks.
Lots of other sought after all Blacks collectables including Sean Fitzpatrick, Byron Kelleher and Ian Hurst
Rugby League memorabilia would include Warrington Wolves, Wigan Warriors,, Harlequins, Leeds Rhinos, St Helens, Widnes and Salford
. With all rugby memorabilia it is important to consider age and condition, match worn rugby attire, boots, shirts, programmes, tickets and signed rugby balls from memorable events are always sought after, as are dinner menus, blazers, mono sepia photographs pictures and ceramics.
When purchasing signed collectibles the buyer should take great care to establish authenticity, I recently wrote an article “rare autographs real or fake” it contains useful advice on purchasing signed sports memorabilia.
Rugby memorabilia can be a great investment and a worthwhile hobby; I think that carefully selected examples will always appreciate in value whilst having the tangible benefit of reliving the memories.