Wimbledon tennis memorabilia and collectibles
Items of Wimbledon memorabilia are those associated with the world’s most famous Grand Slam tennis tournament, held annually in Wimbledon, London, by the All England Lawn Tennis Club.
The tournament has been held since 1877, and is the oldest official tennis tournament in the sport’s history.
These items can include autographs, photographs, signed items such as tennis balls, used rackets, worn clothing and even trophies. It can also include items of ephemera such as vintage tickets, posters and programs.
As the Wimbledon tournament is the most historic and most prestigious of all tennis tournaments, items of memorabilia relating to it are highly-prized for tennis collectors.
Items belonging to former champions are the most valuable, and in particular those who have won the tournament a number of times or who have played an important role in the history of the game.
These players would include:
- Fred Perry
- William Renshaw
- Billie Jean King
- Martina Navrátilová
- Bjon Borg
- John McEnroe
- Boris Becker
- Pete Sampras
- Venus Williams & Serena Williams
- Roger Federer
The most important items, such as trophies, rarely appear at auction and are the holy grail for some tennis collectors. The majority of pieces remain in player’s collections or are donated to museums such as the Wimbledon Lawn tennis Museum.
In 2006 former champion Bjon Borg announced he was to sell his collection of men’s title trophies at Bonhams, which was expected to reach up to £300,000. However, he later decided against the sale after being convinced to keep them by other former champions such as John McEnroe and Andre Agassi.
Compared to the price of memorabilia from other sports such as baseball or football, the value of important Wimbledon tennis memorabilia is relatively affordable to even entry level investors.
For example, in April 2011 the signed pair of tennis shoes worn by champion Boris Becker during his historic 1985 final, when he became the youngest player to ever win the men’s title at the age of 17, were valued by an online memorabilia company at £595.
Other items, such as balls used in finals, can start from around £15 to £400. The large number of balls used in tennis matches means their value is not as high as balls used in other sporting championship finals, but if they are signed by the players they can often reach around £400.
Bjorn Borg's Donnay Pro "Personal Model" tennis racket from the 1981 Wimbledon final sold for £6,600 at Bonhams in 2006.
A gold bracelet awarded to Blanche Bingley, the second winner of the Wimbledon ladies' singles championship in 1886, sold at a Guernsey auction in New York for $18,000 in October 2009.
The 1920 Wimbledon trophy won by Bill Tilden sold in 1992 for $71,500.
In 1997 at a Christie’s auction, several items of memorabilia belonging to the late tennis champion Fred Perry were sold. The trophy Perry received for winning Wimbledon in 1934 was sold for £36,700, and the racquet he used to win his first Wimbledon title in 1933 sold for £23,000.
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