Ten interesting facts for the dedicated Wisden collector!

  1. For the 2000 edition, Wisden invited a worldwide panel of 100 cricketers and other experts to name their Five Cricketers of the Century. The winners were Sir Don Bradman, Sir Garry Sobers, Sir Jack Hobbs, Sir Viv Richards and Shane Warne. Every single member of the panel voted for Bradman, who thus achieved the perfect 100 that famously eluded him with his Test batting average
  2. 1949 was the peak year for sales - with other consumer goods in short supply sport was one of the few outlets enjoyed by many and both writing and reading about sport increased dramatically.
  3. In 1898 a bizarre situation arose in that on some editions the five cricketers of the year appear on the cover in a pattern of two names (one on top and one underneath) either side one name in the centre. On other editions of the same book they appear in a pattern of 1-2-2.
  4. The 1875 issue is mysteriously scarce, and whilst ordinarily the year of publication is the same date as that of the Wisden - Wisden Cricketers Almanack 1923, published in 1923 for example - for that year it is said to have been published in 1874. Whilst it has been often assumed this is a misprint it could be that it was published in the Dec of 1874.
  5. In 2009 the first woman was named as one of the 5 cricketers of the year
  6. In 1941 Wartime paper restrictions meant that only 4,000 Almanacks were printed. The war years - especially 1916, which included the unusually high number of 396 obituaries, including those of WG Grace and Victor Trumper - remain some of the scarcest, and hardest for collectors to obtain
  7. Each new edition of Wisden still sells around 40,000 copies. There are now regularly more than 1,500 pages, many crammed with scorecards and statistics that some may find forbidding and dry
  8. In 1944 the Wisden factory in South-West London was destroyed by a German bomb and a lot of records were destroyed. Fortunately the book itself held a lot of these records so it wasn't a complete disaster!
  9. John Wisdens legacy outlived him in that he was posthumously selected as Wisden Cricketer of the Year in 1913, 50 years after his retirement from first-class cricket.
  10. The most famous single copy of Wisden is a 1939 edition belonging to EW Swanton, the distinguished cricket writer, who had it with him when he was taken prisoner by the Japanese. It proved so popular with the other Prisoners of War that it had to be reserved in advance like a library book, and could be borrowed for no more than 12 hours. It was stamped "Not subversive" by the guards and became so heavily thumbed that it two prisoners rebound it using rice paste as glue. Swanton died, aged 92, in 2000; the book, battered but unbowed, is in the museum at Lord's.

Some Frequently Asked Wisden Questions:
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An Introduction to Wisdens?

What are Wisdens?

Who Was John Wisden?

Types of Wisden Available

How Have Wisdens Changed?

Wisden Cricketers' Almanack

Wisden Cricketers' Almanack

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