Vintage Tennis Rackets

What to look for that the dog hasn’t already chewed:

What’s the difference between the old wooden racquet in your basement and a vintage one? About $1200 dollars (on Jan 13, 2013 a Spalding Windermere Flathead Tennis Racket sold for US $1,252.83 on eBay.)

Like most collectables, manufacturers didn’t put dates on their equipment, so you have to do some research to find out if you have an old racquet from the 1920’s or an antique one from the mid 1880’s.

The evolution of tennis racquets goes something like this. Wood Racquets, Wood Ply Racquets, Steel Racquets, Aluminum Racquets, Glass & Other Composite Racquets, right up to today’s Graphite Composite Racquets.

Major Walter Clopton Wingfield was the first to patent and market a tennis game and its related equipment.

When identifying a vintage racquet you need to look at the shape of the head, a flattened head generally means that it is older. Check to see if the throat is concave or convex. Convex is generally older. If the butt of the racquet is flanged with wood, it predates ones that have a leather flange which appeared in the early 1890’s. Leather straps on the butt were used until leather grips replaced the bare wood grips in the 1930s.

Some of the premier early USA tennis racquet manufacturers were Spalding, Horsman, Peck & Snyder, and Wright and Ditson.

Just because the racquet doesn’t have one of these brand names doesn’t mean that it wasn’t manufactured by them. Slazenger Ltd & Sons from England for instance, which was the largest manufacturer of tennis racquets in the world, had licensing agreements with companies from around the world.

Often the racquets were made for other companies that would then put their own brand on them. For example Wright and Ditson made racquets for Sears, in the mid 1920’s – 1930’s. Even though the manufacturers made similar head shapes, differences in laminated or solid woods, throat design and handle, distinguish one manufacturer from the other.

For more information you can check out the Tennis History Museum. And who knows you just might have a $1200 wooden racquet sitting in your basement or garage.

Some current live auctions on eBay for vintage tennis rackets:

$50.00 (0 Bids)
End Date: Saturday Sep-21-2019 15:59:28 PDT
Buy It Now for only: $65.00
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Posted: September 14, 2019, 10:59 pm
$129.99 (0 Bids)
End Date: Wednesday Sep-18-2019 12:46:16 PDT
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Posted: September 13, 2019, 7:46 pm
$60.00 (0 Bids)
End Date: Friday Sep-20-2019 9:03:22 PDT
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Posted: September 13, 2019, 4:03 pm
$79.99 (0 Bids)
End Date: Tuesday Sep-17-2019 19:40:48 PDT
Buy It Now for only: $129.00
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Posted: September 11, 2019, 2:40 am

Some current live auctions on eBay for all tennis rackets:

$49.99 (0 Bids)
End Date: Wednesday Sep-25-2019 10:40:45 PDT
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Posted: September 15, 2019, 5:40 pm
$40.00 (0 Bids)
End Date: Sunday Sep-22-2019 7:31:13 PDT
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Posted: September 15, 2019, 2:31 pm
$77.00 (0 Bids)
End Date: Saturday Sep-21-2019 9:33:46 PDT
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Posted: September 15, 2019, 4:33 am
$39.99 (0 Bids)
End Date: Thursday Sep-19-2019 20:30:49 PDT
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Posted: September 15, 2019, 3:30 am
$79.99 (0 Bids)
End Date: Thursday Sep-19-2019 20:30:48 PDT
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Posted: September 15, 2019, 3:30 am
$39.99 (0 Bids)
End Date: Thursday Sep-19-2019 20:30:27 PDT
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Posted: September 15, 2019, 3:30 am
$89.99 (0 Bids)
End Date: Thursday Sep-19-2019 20:30:19 PDT
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Posted: September 15, 2019, 3:30 am
$79.99 (0 Bids)
End Date: Thursday Sep-19-2019 20:30:06 PDT
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Posted: September 15, 2019, 3:30 am
$140.00 (0 Bids)
End Date: Saturday Sep-21-2019 18:00:01 PDT
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Posted: September 15, 2019, 1:00 am
$82.00 (20 Bids)
End Date: Saturday Sep-21-2019 17:56:37 PDT
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Posted: September 15, 2019, 12:56 am
$70.00 (1 Bid)
End Date: Saturday Sep-21-2019 17:48:51 PDT
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Posted: September 15, 2019, 12:48 am
$163.00 (20 Bids)
End Date: Saturday Sep-21-2019 17:11:02 PDT
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Posted: September 15, 2019, 12:11 am
$70.00 (0 Bids)
End Date: Thursday Sep-19-2019 16:59:41 PDT
Buy It Now for only: $91.00
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Posted: September 14, 2019, 11:59 pm
$90.00 (0 Bids)
End Date: Saturday Sep-21-2019 16:51:48 PDT
Buy It Now for only: $120.00
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Posted: September 14, 2019, 11:51 pm
$45.00 (1 Bid)
End Date: Saturday Sep-21-2019 15:29:10 PDT
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Posted: September 14, 2019, 10:29 pm

 

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