A love and appreciation of cricket are good reasons to collect the yellow tome but not every cricket fan collects. Some, like many a Wisden-collectors’ partner find the almanack boring and dull, ‘a book full of numbers’ as my wife says. But to a Wisden collector they are so much more.
People who collect buy for a number of reasons.
* To read and savour matches, players and seasons from their youth. Each Wisden is a trip back in time. Get inside your ‘Tardis” and travel back to 1934, 1949 or 1971 and re-live the great players, the great matches and the social climate of the day. The wording and the grammar in each Wisden also reflects the era.
* Usually a collector will begin with a target in mind. One such target could be to buy all editions back to the year they were born. In my experience once the goal is achieved many collectors carry on. It could be a compulsive thing.
* Some collectors wish to have a set of books from great cricketing years. So, for example, the 1934 Wisden contains the full details of the Australia v England Test series ‘of 1932-33. Unarguably the most discussed and the most controversial Test match series ever played. Referred to as the “Bodyline “ series the 1934 almanack covers it in exceptional depth. During the series the disgust felt by the Australian team and nation towards the England team for its tactics resulted in both governments exchanging telegrams…nowadays we would call it a ‘diplomatic incident.’
* Remember, to a collector, Wisden is not just a book of stats, it’s a social history with a lot of cricket thrown in for good measure.