Article © John Daniels
My collection contained what can only best be described as Junk to Gems or Grunge to Goodies and I am sure I will get a grunge article to Playing Pasts in the near future. However, here are some examples of the better items that I once owned.
Medals were one of my favourite themes, not too bulky to store and the ones with enamel embellishments were attractive to display.
Up till around the late 1980’s the only medals I ever found were at boot fairs and collectors markets etc. and they were generally from a fairly low standard of football, silver or base metal efforts issued by County Football Associations and local leagues but the turning point came during the late 1980’s when Christie’s in Glasgow became the first (I think) major auction house to hold a FOOTBALL ONLY auction. Prior to that some good football items appeared in general sports sales only.
These sales gave the collector an opportunity to obtain higher grade medals and often items won by house hold named players. You can imagine my joy in eventually owning medals won by players from famous clubs such as Arsenal, Celtic, Manchester City, Manchester United and Rangers etc., instead of Nowhere Town FC in the South Pokeyshire district league division 8.
For around 10 years I made it part of my social calendar visiting Glasgow for their annual sale, travel up from London the previous morning, visiting the pre-sale viewing, taking in a match at a different ground and a few pints in the evening, the sale the next day and journey home that night with my booty.
The matches were an eclectic cross section of football, two visits to Ibrox (a Scotland International and a Rangers match) , Greenock Morton, Hamilton Academical and Partick Thistle RESERVES.
From memory I only ever won 2 medals for football during my playing days, both in the same season, as a 15 or 16 year old I played for a team called Wheatsheaf Athletic FC (named after a local pub) who won the Zenith League in the 1958/9 season (a Local South London league), I received a league championship medal and the Most Loyal Member medal because I turned up at every match as a reserve and only played in a handful of meaningless friendlies. I had some near misses to success playing in the Balham and District League and the Army but I don’t think I ever received any other honours.
It was a wrench to dispose of my medal collection but I still kept the Wheatsheaf Athletic ones for nostalgic reasons only.