|Buying and collecting
Subbuteo today is not as easy as it used to be and is becoming
increasingly more difficult. The main reason for this is because
throughout the 1980's and 1990's the range of sets and accessories
offered by first Waddingtons and then Hasbro declined significantly.
The second reason is because it is becoming increasingly hard to find
items in good condition and they are fetching higher and higher prices
as more people are starting to collect them.
Probably the best time to collect and play Subbuteo was in the 1970's,
specifically the early to mid 1970's when the company was called
Subbuteo Sports Games Ltd and was based in Kent, Southern England.
This company was solely devoted to the manufacture and selling of
Subbuteo and had no other real products to distract them.
Once the company was sold to Waddingtons in the 1980's the decline set
in. I believe this was for two reasons. Firstly the advent of electronic
games which were available to children of that time and secondly due to
the fact that Waddingtons had many other successful games on their books
and so allowed Subbuteo to decline.
In the early to mid 1970's it seemed that every single toy shop in the
land stocked a wide range of sets and accessories for the children of
that era to spend their pocket money on. This can be seen by comparing
what was available at that time in any of the 1970's catalogues with any
of the recent ones.
Starting a Collection
To collect and own the complete range of Subbuteo sets and
accessories ever made would probably take a lifetime to find and also
cost in the region of £50,000 at today's values. Some people might say
that this figure is excessive but if you actually sit down and work it
out, the figures soon start mounting up. This cost is obviously
prohibitive to most of us.
For this reason it is best to decide on a particular area or theme to
collect and concentrate on this area only. There are different sports to
choose from eg Football, Cricket, Rugby etc and different areas in each
of the sports.
Some examples of specific areas are as
1) 1950's Football Sets
2) 1960's Football Sets
3) 1970's Football Sets
4) Rugby Sets & Accessories
5) Cricket Sets & Accessories
6) 1960's Heavyweight Teams (Short Sleeved V Necks)
7) Later style Heavyweights
9) Rarer Boxed Sets eg Hockey, Snooker, Angling, Targetman, Sport Billy,
Top Scorer etc
Of course it's really up to the
individual - every collector has particular areas that mean more to
him/her especially if they are trying to re-capture their childhood.
If it's affordable to you then it's
also great to be able to have the luxury of having a set to play with as
well as your prized collection that stays locked in the cupboard. After
all it was supposed to be played with!!
Once you have decided what aspect of Subbuteo you are going to
collect you need to learn where the best places are to buy the pieces of
your collection. There are five main places that I have bought from and
I have added the pros and cons of buying from each source:-
||Car Boot Sales
where you are most like to find the bargains. Whether it be a
half complete basic club edition or a complete collection from
someone who has emptied out their loft you are likely to be able
to buy it for a very good price. Bear in mind that if it's not
really what you're looking for you can always trade it with
Likely to be cheap
Not many people looking for Subbuteo
Likely to be incomplete/damaged
Have to get up very early!!
Only available to the UK!
you are most likely to buy items in the best condition. It is
unlikely that they will rip you off because the Subbuteo
collectors' world is small and the word would travel fast. Here
you will probably find the widest range of sets and accessories
for sale. However be prepared to pay slightly over the odds as
they have to make a profit. The best known is Subbuteo World at http://www.subbuteoworld.co.uk
Reliable service. Items guaranteed and nearly always in the
condition advertised. Wide range of product available.
Slightly higher prices.
collectors are only too happy to trade with other collectors to
help to fill gaps in their collection. Some collectors will also
sell surplus items at usually reasonable prices. If the
collector is a member of the Subbuteo Collectors club then the
price should be fair and also the condition should be as
Fair prices. Items usually in condition stated.
Range of items available not usually that great.
Some collectors will only trade not sell.
Subbuteo Collectors' Club has swap meets two or three times a
year. Essentially this is a sale at a venue where collectors can
take their spare and unwanted items for other collectors to buy.
Items very reasonable priced. Items for sale or trade. Items
can be viewed before purchase.
Less items becoming available with the increased popularity
fast becoming the most popular way of buying and selling
Subbuteo related items on the Internet. At any one time there
are nearly 300 items for sale from a couple of spare players to
a complete Munich set! Subbuteo first appeared on Ebay in mid
1999 when there averaged just a dozen or so items. Nowadays
there averages 300 plus items. The prices and condition vary
greatly and you should always be aware that you might not get
what you think you are!
Wide range of items available.
Beware of dodgy sellers dressing up descriptions to try to
fool inexperienced collectors.
Items not always in the condition advertised or complete.
Of course the above are not the only
sources from which to buy Subbuteo - it is merely an indication of
places where I have been successful in adding to my collection. If
anyone has found any other resources or had any particularly good or bad
experiences from any of the above, let me know and I will add your