Avid collector, Andy South, credits his impressive collection of Groggs figures to giving up smoking a decade ago. Investing the money he would have spent on cigarettes into more than 400 individual figures, his impressive collection is estimated to be worth £100,000.
An overview of Groggs figures
John Hughes, who passed away in 2013, began making the models in his garden shed in Pontypridd, Wales, in 1965. JPR Williams and Gareth Edwards were some of the first stars to be depicted in model form, and some of the rarest second-hand figures now regularly sell for hundreds of pounds.
Richard Hughes, John’s son, began sculpting in 1976, and says that it is impossible to estimate how many individual figures have been produced in total.
Before the popularity of Groggs increased, Mr Hughes would produce limited runs of just 10 figures. Figures produced during this time are now the most sought-after, with collectors especially keen to snap up rare examples, often scouring the internet and car boot sales for elusive models missing from their collections.
An exclusive Shane Williams figure in his Japanese club kit, which sold in a charity auction for an impressive £1,500, is thought to be one of the most expensive Groggs models ever sold so far.
As avid sports fans, the Hughes family would be delighted if their work inspired people to get involved with sport. If you’re keen to start training, there are many services available, including Sportplan, who has put together a selection of rugby drill training video programs to encourage participation, develop skills and boost confidence.
A snowballing collection
Knowing he had always enjoyed Groggs, Andy South’s wife suggested that he invest the money saved by stopping smoking into building his collection. One of his most valuable figures was a £5 charity shop find, and the model, depicting Jonathan Thomas, is currently worth around £500. The most he has ever paid was at a charity auction, when he snapped up an exclusive figure of Craig Bellamy, a former Wales footballer, for £350.
Many companies have offered to mass produce Groggs figures over the last decade, but it remains a small, family-run operation. Richard Hughes spends around eight weeks sculpting each model and has a team of five painters painstakingly colouring and finishing each figure to the highest standard.