Cricket is more than just a sport; it’s a passion that transcends boundaries and generations. For Andy Collier, a dedicated collector of cricket memorabilia from Surrey, England, this passion has become a lifelong pursuit. In a recent interview, we had the privilege of getting to know Andy, who has not only lived and breathed cricket but has also created an astonishing collection of cricket-related items that tell the rich history of the game.
Andy Collier’s journey through the world of cricket began at a young age when he played for Farncombe and Guildford. He even had the honor of being a Surrey young cricketer for three seasons during the late ’70s. His life, however, took a different turn when a fateful Achilles injury happen to him. This setback didn’t deter his passion for the sport; instead, it led him down an unexpected path of preserving cricket’s history.
Around three decades ago, Andy’s interest in collecting cricket memorabilia ignited when he stumbled upon a signed photograph of the legendary Sir Don Bradman in a friend’s father’s shed. This discovery marked the beginning of his fascination with cricket-related items, and he hasn’t looked back since.
Andy’s collection spans a wide array of cricket memorabilia, but his primary focus for the past two decades has been photographs of the ships that cricket teams sailed on during various tours. These photographs, signed by the team members, cover the post-World War II era up to 1962.
Acquiring items for a collection as unique and extensive as Andy’s requires dedication and resourcefulness. He actively keeps an eye on auctions, including online platforms like eBay, where he often discovers hidden gems. With a contact in Australia, he extends his reach to secure cricket memorabilia from across the oceans. Additionally, he engages in swaps with fellow collectors to enhance his collection.
Among the countless treasures in his collection, two items hold a special place in Andy’s heart. The first is Eddie Paynter’s Blazer from the infamous 1932/33 MCC tour of Australia, acquired at auction 13 years ago. Paynter’s remarkable story in the history of The Ashes adds a unique layer of significance to this item. Another cherished possession is a series of letters from Alfred Mynn’s daughters to him and his wife, dating back to 1840. Alfred Mynn, known as the ‘Lion of Kent,’ was a prominent figure in English cricket during the 19th century.
Ensuring the authenticity of cricket memorabilia is a paramount concern for collectors. Andy emphasizes the importance of asking all the right questions and developing an experienced eye for authenticity. Additionally, he relies on other collectors’ opinions and expertise to verify items’ legitimacy. His advice is clear: “If in doubt, don’t buy.”
Throughout his collecting journey, Andy has come across several fascinating and unexpected items. One that stands out is a scrapbook from Shoeburyness Cricket Club, featuring rare photographs, scorecards, and original paintings from the 18th century. This unique find sheds light on cricket’s early days and the players who shaped its history.
Collecting isn’t always smooth sailing, as Andy’s story of a signed photograph of SS Orontes from the 1932/33 MCC tour of Australia demonstrates. He traveled through unfavorable weather to an auction, only to find that the item had been withdrawn due to authenticity concerns. However, he eventually acquired a similar item two decades later, showcasing his unwavering dedication to his passion.
For those aspiring to start their own cricket memorabilia collections, Andy offers valuable advice. He suggests focusing on one specific area of interest, whether it’s a particular team, player, signed memorabilia, or cricket-related artifacts. This specialization helps manage space constraints and allows collectors to delve deeper into their chosen niche.
In a surprising twist, Andy reveals that he once held the Surrey Championship individual batting record with a remarkable score of 183 not out. This achievement reflects his remarkable talent as a cricketer and his dedication to the sport in all aspects of his life.
In closing, Andy Collier’s cricket memorabilia collection is a testament to his unwavering love for the game. It’s not just a collection of items but a preservation of cricket’s history, one that captures the essence of the sport and the people who made it great. Aspiring collectors can learn much from Andy’s journey and dedication, as he continues to unearth and cherish the treasures that make cricket’s past come alive.