Auction News

Man United Munich disaster programme to sell at auction 


A programme for the game between Manchester United and Wolverhampton Wanderers in February 1958 that was cancelled as a result of the Munich air disaster.

A programme for the game Manchester United were due to play two days after the Munich air disaster is to be auctioned in the UK. 

The fixture was against Wolverhampton on February 8, 1958. Two days earlier eight Manchester United players died when their plane crashed at take off in Munich. They were returning from a victory against Red Star Belgrade in the European Cup. 

The game they were due to play was a top-of-the-table clash. Wolves were 6 points ahead of the Reds. 

The clash was immediately canceled. Most of the programmes were destroyed. However, Peter Jackson, who is selling the documents, was given one by an uncle who worked at the printers who made the programmes. 

It is being sold with another programme for the club’s match with Nottingham Forest on February 22. 

Amanda Ross with the programme. Image courtesy of Hanson Ross.

Eight United players were among the 23 people who died as a result of the crash. Most of the rest of the club’s players were gravely injured. But the team continued the season, returning to action against Sheffield Wednesday in the FA Cup on February 19th. 

Mr Jackson, says he hopes the programmes, which he kept at home, will be preserved for the long term. He told the BBC: “I hope they will go to a Manchester United fan or keen collector who will look after them for years to come to honour the Busby’s Babes who lost their lives.”

Amanda Butler, director of operations at the auctioneers, describes the sale as “an extremely unusual opportunity,” telling the BBC, “Hardly any of the Manchester United v Wolves programmes exist and examples rarely come to light. We are aware of one which sold previously at auction for £6,200.”

The sale will take place on Friday, January 12, in Hertfordshire. 

These programmes are amongst the most valuable such pieces for collectors. They are poignant and historic. Programmes were originally designed as throwaway items, and the right ones can be very valuable. 

Two FA Cup finals are among the most valuable: a programme from the 1909 final between Manchester United and Bristol City raised £23,500 in 2012. A programme from the 1882 final between Blackburn and Old Etonians realised £30,000 at auction. 

Manchester United is still the biggest brand in British football and its fans include many dedicated collectors. 

Medals are the most valuable items. George Best’s European Cup winner’s medal raised  £156,000 in 2002. Eric Cantona’s 1996 Premier League medal made £22,000 in 2019. And, an England cap won by Duncan Edwards, who died at Munich made £20,000 in 2012. 

Just Collecting