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Denis Compton Cricket Memorabilia

Posted on April 20, 2012 by Selby There have been 0 comments


Cricket Memorabilia – Bats, Caps, Scorecards, Autographs, Photos, Compton scored over 123 first class centuries took 622 wickets and in the field was responsible for 416 batsmen returning to the pavilion.

Compton (MiddlesexEngland) was a dashing right hand bat whose Cricket was followed ball by ball by a legion of admirer’s both at the ground and over the airwaves. In 1947 alone he scored 3816 first class runs at an enviable average of 91 runs included 18 highly entertaining centuries.

Denis Compton (1918 – 1997) Professional Footballer, England Cricketer, He was a right hand bat and slow left arm bowler he became a household name soon after the war when he was one of a number of select Cricketers who put the spark back into the game, something that had been missing since International Cricket was put on hold in 1939.

Compton was born in Hendon UK, as a schoolboy he played for North London Schools against South London Schools at Lords making 88 runs. Following more early successes he joined the Lords ground staff in 1933 playing his first match for Middlesex just three years later.

When collecting Rare Autographs and Cricket Memorabilia it is important to associate the item to a memorable event and personality, early matches which Compton took part in are of particular significance especially Test Matches played against Australia, however one can never discount items collected at any time of a legends sports career. From my point of view I tend to see Memorabilia as either Pre-war or Post war, it can be a good idea to concentrate in one area such as this. Often when collecting items associated with persons who were not prolific signers, it is a case of sourcing what is available and making a small adjustment in value dependant on the event.

Condition of Collectables is important but one must be realistic, Caps, Bats, Balls, Blazers and equipment which are match worn should look match worn, scorecards, team sheets, tour brochures, postcards and cricket ephemera must be considered by age. autographs for example are unlightly to deteriorate with age so should be in good condition, whereas a wartime Wisden editon the original paper wrappers may well show signs of wear, it will have been extensively read and maybe handed down from previous generations so again judgement should be used in considering condition. .

Below I have briefly noted some early very Collectable Dennis Compton matches.

Compton made his Test debut (with Cyril Washbrook) in 1937 against New Zealand at the Oval batting at no 4, he scored 64 before being run out, the second highest score behind Joe Hardstaff jnr (103) he was credited with taking 3 wickets in the 2nd innings, the match resulted in a draw. During the 1937 season Compton made 1981 runs in First Class Cricket.

He was selected to play against Australia in 1938 and he made 102 runs in the 1st test at Trent Bridge an inning which saw 3 England centuries (Hutton, Paynter, Compton) in spite of Compton catching Stan McCabe on 232, the match ended in a draw.

He scored 76 not out in the 2nd test (2nd innings) at Lords, 3rd test abandoned, 4th test at Leeds not so good, same at the Oval where Len Hutton opened the batting and scored an amazing 364, Joe Hardstaff jnr (169 not out, Maurice Leyland 187), the 4 match test series ended in a draw against a seemingly strong Australian side.

Compton missed the 1939 tour to South Africa playing football instead however he was back in action playing the touring West Indies in 1939. In the first test, 1st innings at Lords he scored 120 whilst opener Len Hutton scored 196. The second test at Old Trafford produced no significant Compton event as per the third test at the Oval, England won the three series 1-0. I actually have a hand signed photograph of Compton taken at Lords this photograph would be significant as it was the only century he made in the series and by far his highest score. (He put on a 248 stand with Len Hutton in a 2 hour 10 minute spell) a signed photo of both Hutton and Compton from the same event would be very collectable.

Pre-war test matches make for excellent Cricket Memorabilia, the ones mentioned above would be extremely collectable.

With the start of WW2 Compton joined the Army, stationed initially in Sussex, which enabled him to enjoy occasional weekend Cricket and Football. .

Compton pursued both Cricket and Football up to and after the war, he was having to juggle his commitments to both sports. As a professional footballer Compton had joined Arsenal in 1932 and made his league debut against Derby in 1936, playing on the left wing. He played a number of games for the Army during WW2 also winning two International caps.

In 1950 Compton helped Arsenal to an FA victory winning the Cup from Liverpool.

During his years with Arsenal Compton played 60 matches scoring 16 goals he retired from football in 1950.

I have listed below some First Class Cricket statistics which demonstrate what a talented cricketer Denis Compton was:

Source: Cricinfo, 23 April 1997

Full name

Denis Charles Scott Compton


23 May 1918


23 April 1997 (aged 78)
Windsor, BerkshireEngland


5 ft 10 in (1.78 m)

Batting style


Bowling style

Slow left-arm chinamen

International information

National side


Test debut (cap 297)

14 August 1937 v New Zealand

Last Test

5 March 1957 v South Africa

Domestic team information



1936–1964 MCC
1936–1958 Middlesex
1944/45 – 1945/46 Europeans (India)
1944/45 Holkar

Career statistics





78 515

Runs scored

5807 38942

Batting average

50.06 51.85


17/28 123/183

Top score

278 300

Balls bowled

2710 36640


25 622

Bowling average

56.40 32.27

5 wickets in innings

1 19

10 wickets in match

0 3

Best bowling

5/70 7/36


49/– 416/–

Source: Cricinfo, 23 April 1997


Denis Compton’s First Class Cricket career ended in 1958, he entered the world of social media as a Journalist writing for the Sunday Express and as a popular Commentator on the BBC.

Denis Compton was named Wisden Cricketer of the year in 1939.

He was awarded the CBE in 1958 and was elected President of Middlesex CCC in 1991.

He has a Cricket ground named after him at the Shenley Cricket Centre in Radlett Herts which he opened in the summer of 1997 “The Denis Compton Oval”, ironically the ground was originally designed by WG Grace, it also has a splendid nineteenth century pavilion. Well worth a visit!!

Good luck with your collecting.

Let me know how you get on?

Tony Selby

Cricket Memorabilia

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