Peter Rixon of Greenslade Taylor Hunt gives advice on antiques

How times have changed. In the 1930s football was a straightforward sport. Local men kicked heavy leather balls around lumpy pitches for the entertainment of ordinary folk. With widespread unemployment at the beginning of the decade, and the lengthening shadow of war towards its end, football provided a welcome dose of light relief from both economic depression and political uncertainty. Few could have realised back then that the flimsy programmes from these games, often left behind on the terraces, would one day be worth a small fortune.

Pictured here is an unusual example from a Coronation Cup match, played out between two invited teams, Arsenal and Portsmouth, at Bath City’s ground on 19th April 1937. At a time when jerseys were jerseys and shorts were anything but short this probably cost around sixpence. Today it might fetch over £100.

Peer between the covers and it oozes period charm, from the advertisements for wireless sets and fancy leather goods to a final innocent paragraph encouraging spectators ‘to come along to the Pump Room afterwards to meet the players and officials’.

Importantly this copy has not been folded – usually to fit into a jacket pocket – or scribbled upon, and it has been kept clean and dry. Unsightly defects hammer values hard. Programmes from the post-war era are more affordable, with many of those after the 1960s selling for pennies rather than pounds, so there is plenty of scope for the novice collector.

These were grand days out. Domestic games were highlights of the working week while cup ties, particularly finals, offered the ultimate spectacle to remember. There was community singing (without reference to the referee’s eyesight or parentage), accompanied by massed military bands, followed by a thrilling encounter featuring two of the nation’s foremost clubs. You can’t put a price on pleasure like that.