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Modern Collectables - What It\'s Wort

Cover of  by Toby Walne

Toby Walne, author of 101 Extraordinary Investments - Curious, Unusual and Bizarre Ways to Make Money, counts the cost of today's treasures


Many superheroes, including Superman and Batman, were born during the golden age of comic books in the '30s and '40s. The 1938 issue of Action, in which Superman first appeared, is the most valuable and can change hands for up to £600,000.

British 'Pilot of the Future' Dan Dare shot off into space in the first issue of Eagle in April 1950, a 3d comic that can now fetch £850. Condition is key for all alternative investments and comics are no exception. Well-thumbed copies fetch only half the price of the top examples.


Scalextric was an instant success when it was launched in 1957 and an original boxed set can sell today for £500.

The tin-plated cars changed to become plastic models in the '60s, but the early ones are worth more. The holy grail is the Bugatti of 1964 - which was pulled from the shelves as it broke too easily - and is now worth up to £3,000. But rarity is not the only consideration. A 1964 Austin Healey can still sell for £150 because it looks so good.

Board Games

The board games that have stood the test of time include a '50s set of Buccaneer, or a '60s game of Escape from Colditz. Both sell for around £80.

Monopoly is the most popular board game in history, with more than 200 million sets sold worldwide since 1935 when it was first marketed by Parker Brothers. Pre-war editions in top condition can fetch more than £100, although later 'limited editions' are usually worthless.

Sports Memorabilia

The oldest football programmes do particularly well, with a single-sheet selection of Manchester United versus Walsall at The Chuckery in 1890 - before Old Trafford was built - now worth £10,000. Its original price was 1d.

FA Cup Finals also hold special appeal and the 1923 programme for the first final at Wembley, which originally went for 3d, can sell for £1,000 today.

For cricket fans, anything to do with the legendary names such as W G Grace, Fred Trueman, Denis Compton and Donald Bradman command top prices.

W G Grace was the first true sports star and the 19th-century bat he used to knock up his first top-class century is valued at £80,000. Even his hand-written notes can fetch £500.

But the most popular cricket collectable is the Wisden Cricketers' Almanack, which has published all the scorecards of first-class matched since 1864.

A complete set could be picked up for about £20,000 a decade ago, but sets in good condition now go for as much as £100,000. Individual early copies sell for thousands of pounds, although a later post-war edition can still be picked up for less than £100.

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