Top tips for collecting football programmes and how to bag a bargain

Photo by Martin Sanchez on Unsplash
Photo by Martin Sanchez on Unsplash

Many football fans like to collect football memorabilia for sentimental value — however, not everyone knows which editions are collectible or, the value of what’s laying around in their loft space.

If you have an interest in football memorabilia and making some money, then it’s well worth doing your homework and finding out more about the history of football programmes and which versions have sold for the most money over the years? Here, with help from commercial bollard sign printers, Where The Trade Buys, we’ll explore the most highly prized programmes in history and offer you advice on how you can get started collecting rare footie programmes today…

Some suggestions for your first collectible item

Today’s football fans still appreciate football programmes and they remain an important part of the match day experience — but how collectible are they and which should you search for if you want to bag a truly special edition?

Here’s our first suggestion for a collectible item to start with… why not try tracking down the first Wembley final programme from 1923, which details the match between Bolton and West Ham United and is worth around £1,000? Alternatively, there’s the programme from the one and only time a non-English club lifted the FA Cup — Cardiff City vs Arsenal in 1927 — which ended with a score of 1-0 and has a value of about £2,500!

Another good choice, as one of your very first items as a collector, would be the wartime England vs Wales international programme — which once sold for £750 — a 1932 Arsenal vs Manchester City — which reportedly made £520 — and a 1931 Exeter vs Leeds copy — which reached a decent £500.

Some top hints for those new to collecting football programmes

Make sure you’re getting a good deal by keeping the following three key features in mind, when making a purchase:

  • Age — anything over 50 years old is most collectible.
  • Rarity — if there are many available, this will bring the value down.
  • Popularity — programmes with an iconic footballer on the cover or detailing a famous match are the most prized and valuable.
  • Condition — creases, missing staples and water damage all harm the programme’s price, so ask for a photo before you pay.

You might have figured it already from the examples above: pretty much any programme from an FA Cup final match holds value, as does any booklet that was perhaps the first or final edition of a player’s/manager’s career (i.e. the last game David Beckham played for Manchester United).

It may or may not seem obvious, that certain teams typically hold greater monetary value than others when it comes to programme collecting — although, programmes from your team’s past will be more personally valuable to you. Sides such as Manchester United, Chelsea, Liverpool, Spurs, West Ham, and Arsenal are all highly sought after and are worth keeping an eye out for if you want a particularly valuable item. The Football Programme Centre is also a good source of advice if you’re keen on becoming a serious collector.

For footy fans keen to explore another side to their sporting interests and possibly make some money, collecting football programmes is the perfect hobby to adopt. Tracking down a rare edition or grabbing a great bargain is exciting! Go on, have a go!


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Written by Nathaniel Fried

Co-founder of Fupping. Busy churning out content and building an empire.

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