The modern version of tennis is credited to a Welsh major named Walter Clopton Wingfield, who patented the game in 1874. Wingfield gave his pastime two names: the Greek derived “sphairistike” and “lawn tennis.” Not surprisingly, the second name stuck.

Within a year, the All England Croquet Club at Wimbledon had added lawn tennis to the diversions offered to its members, and in 1877, the words “Lawn Tennis” were formally added to its name. That was also the year the club held its first championship in men’s singles. Tournament play for what we now call the U.S. Open began in Newport, Rhode Island, in 1881. Thus, the first two tennis Grand Slams were born—the first French Open was played in 1891, the Australian Open arrived in 1905, and in 1915 the U.S. Open moved to Forest Hills, New York.

For collectors of tennis memorabilia, anything from the 19th century is a prize, be it a wooden racquet strung with gut or an early trophy, although such pieces are mostly the stuff of museums and exclusive private collections.

More accessible are items from the 1920s, the so-called golden age of tennis. On the men’s side, when Bill Tilden wasn’t winning Wimbledon, René Lacoste (of crocodile-logo-shirt fame) was. Helen Wills Moody was the star among female players, winning Wimbledon eight times in the ’20s and ’30s, which stood as the record until Martina Navratilova won her ninth in 2000.

Vintage tennis memorabilia from the years between the wars include sports posters advertising matches at Wimbledon, the availability of courts at a luxury resort, or the latest Slazenger or Spalding tennis balls. More recently, posters from Roland Garros, site of the French Open, have gained a following. Ticket stubs to any of the Grand Slams are also collected.

For some reason, vintage tennis racquets are not as expensive as you might think they would be. Some people collect racquets of famous players. Jack Kramer swung a wooden Wilson, and his namesake racquet was introduced in 1948. Rod Laver and John McEnroe, whose on-court demeanor could not have been more different, both used a Dunlop Maxply, while Bjorn Born played with Bancrofts and Donnays.

Arthur Ashe was a racquet pioneer, playing a Head metal-and-plastic racquet called the Arthur Ashe Competition in 1969—its flat face was distinctive but did not last in tennis ci...

Today, the most widely collected tennis items are probably tennis-ball cans, from cardboard to metal, and player autographs. Collectors and fans look for signatures on everything from tennis balls to photographs, trading cards, and magazine covers.

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1938 Pre Ww2 Wimbledon Speedway Supporters Club Badge Cotton Dot Motorcycles GcVintage Antique 1914 Tennis Loving Cup Trophy. Copper Color. Dieges & Clust Afc Wimbledon 2014-2015 Players 16 Saint - Luce WornAfc Wimbledon 2014-2015 Players 3 Smith WornAfc Wimbledon 2014-2015 Players 7 Francomb WornAfc Wimbledon 2014-2015 Players 18 Nicholson Worn1947 Fa Amateur Cup Final - Leytonstone V. WimbledonVintage Wilson Pro Staff Racquet Signed By Pete Sampras Vintage Pennsylvania Tennis Balls 4 Cans With Key & Box Nos Full BoxAfc Wimbledon 2014-2015 Players 12 Pell WornAfc Wimbledon 2014-2015 Players 36 Winfield WornScarce 1908 Spalding's Offiical Catalogue Spring Summer Sports Baseball Tennis30s Vintage Antique Loving Cup Trophy Brass Bakelite Tennis Men's Doubles 1939Roger Federer Wimbledon Tennis Signed Photo Authentic AutographAfc Wimbledon 2012 - 2014 Match Ball Used Fa CupVintage Wood 1920s Harry C Lee Ny Vincent Richards Good Shot Tennis RacketAfc Wimbledon 2014-2015 Players 27 Tanner Worn, Ripped In PlayGk) 2007 Ace Authentic Maris Sharapova Relic Shirt Tennis Sp RareVintage Wood 1930s Lee Sheng Tientsin China Chinese Tennis Racket1936 - Superb Full Set Of 50 Cards "tennis" In The 1936 Album - Cards ExcellentAfc Wimbledon 2014-2015 Players 19 Arther WornVintage Unopened Can W/key Franklin Court Pro Tennis Balls Bjorn Borg & John Mcenroe Signed Photo Authentic Autograph Wimbledon Tennis2012 Sportkings E Bjorn Borg Shirt Memorabilia Autograph Am-bbo1 Tennis Auto /401923 Tennis Tournament Trophy Wilcox International Silver Co Won By E.b. KelsoOriginal Players Towel From Wimbledon Tennis ChampionshipsBjorn Borg Signed Tennis Ball Wimbledon Champion Autograph Memorabilia + CoaVintage Polo Sport Rl Green Cap Hat Classic Big Logo Golf Tennis Fisherman RareAnna Kournikova Sexy Tennis Signed Auto 8x10 Forbes Mag Cover Photo Psa/dna CoaAntique Lenox Tennis Racquet W/a.j. Spalding Bros. Racquet Press HolderVinny Jones - Wimbledon (17th Nov 1988) 8 X 6 Inch Match Action Press PhotoWimbledon Fc 2002 2004 Red Long Sleeved Away Shirt Jersey Size Medium M RareVintage Arthur Ashe Head Amf Competition 2 Baron Flex Tennis Racquet Racket Dulwich Hamlet V Wimbledon Surrey Senior Cup 1948/49Antique TennisVintage Official Tennis Straw Boater L Stella Artois Kr Snoxell & Sons Antique A.c Tennis Mens Singles Solid Silver Trophy/ Cup Hallmarked 30gHandwritten Letter, Signed By 1930's Wimbledon Rider, Claude Rye, Excellent!London 2012 Team Gb Tennis Shirt1946 Program Professional Tennis ChampionshipWilson Ultra 2 Boron Graphite Midsize 4-1/4 Vintage Pws White Butt Heavy Wear !!Lot Of 10 Vintage Aluminum Tennis RacquetsVintage Lot Of 16!! Wood Tennis Rackets Racquets Wilson Spalding Slazenger Vintage Wimbledon Speedway Chromed Car Bumper BadgeRare Original 1901 Wright And Ditson's Lawn Tennis GuideAgassi Sampras Mcenroe Davydenko Becker Signed Tennis Balls Autographed In CasesAfc Wimbledon 2012 - 2014 Match Ball Used Vintage Polo Sport Ralph Lauren Blue Cap Hat Big Logo Golf Tennis Cool2014 Leaf Q Autograph Jimmy Connors Hall Of Fame Pure TennisOld Tennis Tobacco Cigarette Flannel C 1914 Trinity College Player & RacketDonnay Graphite/wood Vintage Tennis Racquet Medium 52012 Sportkings E Martina Navratilova Shirt Memorabilia Autograph Am-mn1 Auto/50Anna Kournikova Signed Autographed 8x10 Photo Rare Sexy Hot Tennis Psa DnaVinny Jones - Wimbledon (undated) 10 X 8 Inch Action Press PhotoAfc Wimbledon 2012 - 2014 1 Ross Warner Used, Goal Keeper Cut Socks Stock Car Poster For Wimbledon Track F1 And F2 , Rare Poster.Vintage Official Tennis Straw Boater Xl Stella Artois Kr Snoxell & Sons *new*Burnley V Wimbledon F.a.cup 3rd Rd 4/1/1975 Ticket1951 Berk Ross Mrs. Margaret Osborne Dupont Tennis Campion Ex 071957Head Radical Andre Agassi Hand Signed Tennis Racket Vintage Rare!

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