The issuing of badges to racegoers who have paid a premium to access specific areas of the racecourse such as stands or boxes or to those who have purchased annual membership, much like a football season ticket, is common practice worldwide and has been done for many years. These badges make great collector’s items and as they vary in price from just pennies to perhaps hundreds of pounds, they are suitable for both beginners and serious collectors alike.
Badges come in two basic types – cardboard and metal. Cardboard badges are usually day passes, permitting access to premium areas of the racecourse on the specified day only. These are generally inexpensive but could potentially have increased value if it relates to a specific event, for example the 1928 Grand National. There is also the possibility of cardboard badges being autographed and again this might enhance the value. Metal badges are most commonly used as annual passes but might also be produced for high-end day passes for boxes or suites. Metal badges can generally be expected to attain higher prices than cardboard ones.
Horse racing badges are commonly dated and often have serial numbers too, which make them both unique and highly collectable.
Some suggestions for theming a horse racing badge collection are outlined below:
Horse racing is an international sport and takes place daily at hundreds of venues around the world. A relatively inexpensive and fun option for the beginner might be to compile a collection of horse racing badges from as many different racecourses and countries as possible.
You might opt to collect badges issued by a particular racecourse or a select few courses. As annual metal badges are usually dated, you could try to compile a complete collection of badges produced by that racecourse, one for each year of issue.
Horse racing is one of the oldest sports in the world and has a rich history and this can be reflected in a horse racing badge collection. Many racecourses have come and gone and you might consider seeking out vintage badges that may have been issued by racecourses that no longer operate or even exist.
Things to consider:
The value of a badge can be affected by a number of factors. Unless you plan to visit each racecourse and collect all your race cards first-hand, you will be purchasing used or second-hand products. As with any second-hand purchase, you should always take note of and satisfy yourself as to the terms and conditions of a sale. With second-hand items, you may not always have the opportunity to return an item.
Consider what condition is acceptable to you. Cardboard badges could be marked or dog-eared. The enamel or paintwork on metal badges may have some damage. Many badges come complete with cords and missing or replaced cords may lower the value. Age of the item should be taken into account – it might be acceptable for vintage items to show signs of a little wear and tear while newer items are expected to be in much better condition.
Cardboard badges can be autographed. Signed badges could be considerably more valuable than unsigned ones, depending on the signatory and also the context. Any horse racing badge featuring the signature of Sir Gordon Richards or Lester Piggott is likely to have some value while a Grand National day pass badge could be significantly enhanced if autographed by the winning jockey.
Condition is subjective and this should always be remembered where the condition is described by the vendor. You must also always take care to satisfy yourself as to the authenticity of any signed item.