1859 Football Rulebook sells for £ 57,000
London (AFP) – One of the oldest extant copies of the football rulebook has sold for almost £ 57,000, auction house Sotheby’s announced on Tuesday.
The auctioneers recorded the final price on their website at £ 56,700 ($ 77,200, 65,900 euros), claiming the auction was prompted by its historical significance and the insight it gave to the game’s development modern.
The hand-annotated brochure, discovered in a Victorian scrapbook, was printed in 1859 after a series of meetings organized by the Sheffield Football Club to formalize the game, Sotheby’s said in a statement.
The only other surviving copy of the rulebook was in the Sheffield club’s historical archives, which were sold in their entirety for £ 881,000 in July 2011.
Founded in 1857, Sheffield Football Club is recognized by both the English association and the international football governing body, FIFA, as the oldest club in the world.
The club had a key impact on the development of the game, innovating set pieces like the indirect free kick and corner kick, as well as cross bars on goals.
The brochure shows changes to the handwritten rules, including tougher conventions against handling the ball.
“This exceptional piece in the history of sport takes us directly back to the origins of the ‘beautiful game’ over 160 years ago,” said Gabriel Heaton, Sotheby’s books and manuscripts specialist.
“As well as being an important artifact in its own right, the brochure also gives us unique insight into the making of the rules of the game through handwritten annotations. ”