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Peter Upton's

Subbuteo Tribute Website.

The Team Colours Project.

Odds and Ends.

This page is basically an extension to the "help" page, but also an acknowledgement that some teams will always remain as unknowns or anomalies. Subbuteo production was sadly not meticulously catalogued, and no easy answers exist for un-catalogued teams. The idea of this page was simply to illustrate any teams that did not fit in nicely anywhere else. 

Every collector will come across figures that he cannot identify. It is one of the most frequently asked questions to the website. The hand-painted teams of the 1960s-70s are the hardest to include here, because so many were repainted in the 1970s. In addition, the value that collectors have placed on the more unusual sides today means that modern re-painted teams are a sad fact of life on ebay and in collecting circles. The fact that unusual sides command a high premium, makes everyone hope that the weird team they have picked up is some fabulous rarity. However, Subbuteo was mass produced, and there probably aren't any unique sides. The more unique a side, the more likely it is to have originated in somebody's bedroom. In addition, Subbuteo used a large number of outworkers to paint their teams. If an outworker painted a unique team for a family member is that an official team? The answer is probably "no", but what really is the difference? How about if they painted a whole batch slightly wrongly (or even more accurately to the team's colours of the day). Did quality control reject the teams, or did they cut their loses and box them up?  The real value in Subbuteo is on catalogued teams in numbered boxes.

Flat Teams.

This team was photographed at the Subbuteo Exhibition in Tunbridge Wells Museum, in August 2005. It had come from a little tin full of very early card teams (the kind of thing you really want to find at a boot sale!!). An identical team is shown in Subbuteo book "Flick to Kick" (page 34), alongside a flat Hamilton with white shorts (so not matching the early description of reference 20). The team that wore this kit in the late 1940s was Walsall, who appear in the early catalogues (out of alphabetical order) on the standard ref 1. Did they stop wearing the kit before it made the catalogues?

Heavyweights.

As mentioned above, most weird heavyweights are not the genuine article. Look closely, and you might find a colour that doesn't match the rest of the side, or a glimpse of the original colour beneath. Always compare to other Subbuteo figures you own. 

Nevertheless, there are times when you pick up a cheap box of players locally, and find a player who looks absolutely spot on, but still doesn't match the catalogues. These teams rarely turn up whole and in a box. That would be too easy! I would suspect that they have curiosity value only, as there doesn't seem any way to certify them as the real deal.

Anyway, here are a few examples....

             

More Heavyweights.

We seem to be doing well solving the unknown teams shown above, so here are a few more to puzzle over.

  

This is another oddity. It is essentially reference 95 with blue shorts. This seems like a deliberate act though, as the player is painted onto flesh coloured plastic. If it was supposed to have white shorts, then it would be likely to be on white plastic. The red looks a bit bright to my eye, but photos can be deceptive. A named box is always a help! Does anyone else own this one? Thanks to Jon Rosten for sending this one in.

A "French-Italian Puzzle".

This is a bit of fun. If there is one unknown team that I have been asked about by Italian collectors more than any other, it is the green team shown above. It seems to turn up in Italian collecting circles every couple of years, and I did wonder if it was the same team being passed around. However, as you can see from the above photos, the team has been sighted in reversed bases of green and black. The blue team (usually regarded as an alternate Sampdoria) has turned up in the same circles. Note though, that on this team, the stripes are not in the usual order for Sampdoria (ref 94).

Now when pictures of weird teams that get sent to me, I am usually cautious in reply. "It's probably repainted by a previous owner" is the likely explanation. I've outlined why at the top of this page. With these two teams, the markings are not in a familiar Subbuteo style, and as there is no white in either kit, I would expect them to be painted on flesh coloured plastic. With any teams though, the more times they turn up, the more they need to be reconsidered.

Why is this a French-Italian puzzle? Well, Italian collector Fabrizio Frazzoni recently got back in touch to say that a friend (Dario Pattarini) had found both of these kits on a French football website. The green team was the away kit of Nancy in 1971-72, and note that the arm bands match ref 141, which was Subbuteo's Nancy kit. Meanwhile, the blue team was the away kit of Nice from the same season. Both kits were originally designed by inventive French manufacturer Le Coq Sportif.

Sadly, the teams do not seem to appear in any French or Italian catalogues that I am aware of. However, at least we now have a date and country to work with.

"Box Set" Figures.

Two more interesting figures to complicate the figure lists....

         

Zombies.

Lightweights.

The great thing about machine printed lightweights is that they can't be faked easily. They were also obviously produced in large batches. So one-off sides are not an option. Most odd machine prints appear loose, or in box sets. In all likelihood, some of these are prints that came out wrong, but that were recycled into sets rather than be thrown away.

         



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