A Subbuteo ball that was previously thought to have never been made has been sold on eBay for a bargain price.
A seller sold a set of three USA 94 balls alongside a Euro 96 ball for £20. The price is not too unusual – until you take a closer look at the Euro 96 ball.
In 1995 Subbuteo released a catalogue showing the Euro 96 range and it included a set of three balls complete with the logo for the tournament set to take place in England the next year. However, when the balls were finally released the logo was missing and instead they simply had Euro 96 written on them in blue.
In fact, the logo ball was never released and were thought to have never been made apart from a couple of prototypes and those used for the catalogue.
Subbuteo historian Peter Upton says: “The first of the unreleased entries from the 1995 catalogue, this was a set of balls in an attractive Euro 96 design. Sadly, in contrast, the actual Euro 96 balls were a really boring design. I’m sure the original balls would have been a much more successful product (but perhaps they were too difficult to produce). This weird and colourful design work now only exists on the Euro 96 boxes.”
The ball is, as far as we know, a one-off. Or at least one of three ever made. It means the ball is a real bargain and a true bit of Subbuteo history.
The Euro 96 was the last dedicated tournament ball Subbuteo ever produced, with the France 98 box set using an Adidas ball. No more tournament box sets were produced, although Subbuteo has since produced club-related balls including Manchester United in a dedicated 2000 box set.
Thanks to Graham Horton for the heads up on this item.