Thomas Black comes from a family of collectors. Collecting is in his genes.
Thomas has been collecting tennis memorabilia for the past two decades, and there are few who know the market for sporting antiques like he does.
Thomas’ love of collecting began in golf, where he built a substantial collection of memorabilia before it was sold on by Christies at Pebble Beach, USA. Thomas then turned his attention to Tennis. He believed the sports memorabilia represented an opportunity; Tennis items were lower priced and saw less competition in the market than golfing pieces, even today there’s less tennis memorabilia in circulation to purchase, therefore increasing its value.
His private tennis collection is completely unique in every sense. It serves to document the history of the game of tennis from the 1870’s through to the 1940’s. It ranks as one of the most valuable collections in the world, both in historical and financial terms, and it is unlikely given the ‘disposable’ nature of modern tennis racquets, that a collection of this size, nature and value could ever be created again.
From rare racquets and equipment to significant artworks, a fascinating range of memorabilia has been put together. A stunning level of quality runs through all of the items, gathered by a man of knowledge, vision and with an exceptional eye for detail.
The collection is comprised of tennis related art, racquets, bronzes, metal figures, some silver items and tennis presses. A number of racquets alone are individually estimated at over £10,000.
One work of art to note in particular depicts the first lawn tennis match in history held at Leamington Spa, a piece which would be priceless to any notable collector. The racquet collection, which pre dates 1940, holds racquets which are similar to the equipment that lead Spencer Gore to victory, the first winner of Wimbledon in 1877.
Thomas Black said:
“Creating a collection ticks many boxes, it is competitive, it is all absorbing, and it is creative. However, with it comes a responsibility. If you have had the pleasure of accumulating it you have the challenge of disposing of it.
“In inflationary times it is hard to give value to various and ever changing pieces of paper, promises and onscreen numbers. Art and antiques are fast becoming the only route into securing a decent investment of money and integrity for the future.”
In the 20 years since Thomas Black has been collecting, tennis has shifted dramatically, witnessing countries such as Korea, China and the UAE quickly improving their world ranking. Although they may have some of the finest tennis courts and coaching in the world, what Mr Black believes they lack is the heritage and history, which serves them as weak contenders with Europe as the birthplace of tennis.
Thomas Black has now decided it is time to sell the entire collection. He is keen to sell it as a whole and he looks to intelligent entrepreneurs and investors in Europe, Asia or the UAE with an eye for a worthwhile investment.
The collection has been valued at over £400,000 but, as one of the largest and oldest collections in the world and with the current disposable tennis culture, this collection is priceless for any savvy buyer.
“In today’s world it would be impossible to accumulate a collection with so much depth and interesting original pieces. It is certainly a complete anthology of tennis.”
The entire collection is available to view online, but by private invitation only. Those interested to view the collection must send an email to Ms. Naomi Mills at: Naomi@henmancom.com
Share our innovative culture news with EYES IN on our Facebook page, or follow @eyesinmagazine on Twitter.