The Everton Collection is a unique collection of artefacts, letters, medals and other ephemera surrounding the history of Everton Football Club which has been amassed by David France. Christie's say it is the most comprehensive collection of football memorabilia relating to one club in the world. It is valued at £1.4 million, but would fetch considerably more if broken up and sold as individual items.
A Collection of artefacts, letters and other ephemera, the David France Collection is a timeline of Everton history stemming from the very roots of the Club's existence to the present day. Containing items which crystallised and created a nation of blue-blooded Evertonians, the Collection traces the Club's heritage back to 1878 when Everton's time first began.
"The Collection, without doubt, is the finest and most comprehensive collection of its type relating to a single club in private hands."
Further to this, the Collection is also of the utmost historical importance in illustrating and chronicling the formation of the oldest League system in the world. Featuring some of football's rarest artefacts, of the 10,000 collated items, many pre-date the formative years of the Football League.
Boasting an anthology of programmes dating back to 1886, the Collection contains 6,065 programmes covering the Club's participation in league, cup competitions, friendly games and reserve team fixtures between 1886 - 2001. The programmes provided the starting block for David France's Collection when he first started assembling programmes as a young boy in 1953. Added to his first programme are now all the home and most of the away programmes for every game in which Dixie Dean played for Everton, along with 30 home issues and one away edition from the pre-League era and many more since.
Added to the programmes, season tickets, ticket stubs, medals, photographs, contracts, cash books, handbooks, financial statements and other ephemera, every item amassed in the collection assists in mapping out the Club's distinguished past and its unparalleled heritage. Other items include cigarette cards, postcards and international caps from the turn of the century.
Each piece of memorabilia is unique and special in its own right. Some pieces date back to the pioneering days at Stanley Park, Priory Road and Anfield with the Everton Ledgers shedding much light and insight into the Club's history from 1886 through to 1964, including diverse issues such as the choice of colours, selection of team line-ups and the acrimonious split which resulted in the formation of Liverpool Football Club.
The Collection not only documents the history and pedigree of Everton Football Club, but also the history of football in the city of Liverpool, Merseyside, and the world.
With this in mind, the Collection not only documents the history and pedigree of Everton Football Club, but also the history of football in the city of Liverpool, Merseyside, and the world. Its contents provide an ideal tool to educate people in the history of the beautiful game and life in Liverpool itself, however it is also a box of memories opening a wealth of opportunity to look back and reminisce about the past and the glory of Everton
It is intended that The Everton Collection will be housed in the Liverpool Record Office where it will be available for public research and that working in partnership with the Record Office, National Museums Liverpool will regularly select items from the Collection to feature in their rolling programme of exhibitions and displays.
Lord Grantchester, Trustee of the Everton Collection Charitable Trust comments; "Our partnership with the Liverpool Record Office and National Museums Liverpool is the perfect solution to our desire to preserve the Collection and allow Evertonians, football fans and the people of Merseyside and beyond to be educated on Everton FC's history and relevance to the community over the last 127 years".
It is widely recognised that this Collection is of paramount importance and the following details the appraisal received from a variety of influential sources;
Christie's the leading auction house in sport memorabilia said; "The Collection, without doubt, is the finest and most comprehensive collection of its type relating to a single club in private hands. Indeed, the only comparable collection of Ledgers and Minute Books is the one relating to the Scottish Football Association/Queen's Park FC which is now in the Scottish Football Museum at Hampden Park, Glasgow. Christie's honestly believes the Collection is not only of local importance to Evertonians and Merseyside people in general, but also of National importance and is of Museum quality."
Dr David Fleming OBE, Director of National Museums Liverpool said; "The Collection represents an important area of the social history of Merseyside."
Janet Dugdale, Keeper of Urban History of National Museums Liverpool said; "The Collection is of national, regional and local importance. It also has some international relevance. The Collection enables those who have access to it to learn about the development of football from the end of the 19th Century, and in particular the start of the League in 1888 to the present day. It has strong connections to the social and community life of the city of Liverpool - not only in terms of the football history content but the social fabric of the city as represented in the advertisements contained in the programmes dating back to 1888 and the creation of Goodison Park. The Ledgers, contracts, various letters enable further study into the running of a business from inception in the late 19th Century until the 1960s.
"The story of football is the story of Liverpool. Within Liverpool and within the wider region, especially Merseyside, football is intrinsically linked with the identity of the city. There is an important sense of belonging felt by football fans who support Everton FC or Liverpool FC. This collection shows how two world class teams began and goes on to complete the Everton story."
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