How it all Started
I have had an interest in tennis collecting for many years
It all began when my vacuum cleaner broke down and I had to purchase a new one. I thought if I spent that amount of money on an everyday item why not buy something I would treasure. So, I bought my first item – a vanity fair original print “Thrice Champion” H.L. Doherty by Spy and so my new hobby was born. In the early days without the internet, it was potluck not knowing where to look. Eventually I learned about shops, fairs, and auctions.
Prior to the internet buying was simpler – just choose a direction to drive and you were sure to come across an antique shop or centre. It was common back then to see rackets, books, advertising, medals etc. for sale. The larger fairs such as Ardingly and Newark provided great opportunities to aquire quite rare items. Living fairly near to London one could visit Alfies where rows of rackets were in one area and wonderful posters in another. Cecil Court off Leicester Square or Camden Passage were frequent hunting grounds. If you ventured into Bond Street and later Westbourne Grove you could view the impressive inventory of Sean Arnold. The big auction houses such as Christies and Phillips held frequent sales with good tennis items. It was at one of these sales I had the pleasure of meeting Harry Langton the God Father of Sports Dealers – a fountain of knowledge in regard to the early days of sporting items. “The Tennis Collector” recently renamed “The Tennis Historian” became a useful reference. On my annual visit to Wimbledon I would always try to visit the Tennis Gallery. Further afield in the Cotswolds lies the beautiful town of Burford and about half way up the High Street is probably the most impressive sporting antique shop I have visited. The proprietor Manfred Schotten has an extensive array of sporting items including some wonderful rackets.
So, after decades of collecting I thought why not set up a website. Collecting is all about information exchange and sharing – that is the fun of it. At Tennis Antiques by Steve Luck, I have tried to present a forum for just that. I hope to buy early items from visitors to the site and occasionally sell the odd item too.