TON MERCKX: FROM INNOCENT COLLECTION TO COMPLETE ARSENAL

27 May 2020 By Wijtze De Groot News

We have all had our own collection and many still do. Whether it's the classic stamps, fridge magnets, beautiful stones and shells or old posters; if you have a collection, you value it.

I myself have a stone collection that I am very proud of. But I (and many other collectors) have one common enemy: lack of space. Until recently, I thought I was already cramped for space, but when I saw Tom Merckx's collection, I realised that I shouldn’t be the one complaining.

Meet Ton Merckx:

Ton Merckx with his collection in the Philips stadium

OVER 2000 CYCLING SHIRTS

A PSV grandstand filled with a collection of over 2000 cycling jerseys. This is the work of a collection that is more than 30 years old. Ton Merckx started collecting cycling jerseys in 1983 after visiting the Valkenswaard post-tour criterium. Here he came across the jersey of local sponsor and apple farmer Henk Wintermans, which at that time was worn by the Bladel cycling pro Jan Aling. This jersey caused him to start his biggest collection.

Ton immediately went looking for this jersey and he had success, after some time he came back with the jersey of Henk Wintermans including 4 other jerseys. So initially he went out for 1 jersey, but he came back with 4. Innocent in the beginning, but a while later this number had doubled and after more than 30 years Merckx has passed the 2000 cycling jerseys mark.

THE COLLECTION

Ton's collection reaches as far as the eye can see. But what does he have in his collection? At the moment, there are almost 2300 jerseys from 61 countries. He collects professional jerseys, leader jerseys and club jerseys. The somewhat smaller club jersey collection has a personal story though: these are jerseys from the merger club TML Dommelstreek of which Ton is a member. The club is a fusion of WV Colonel Cole (Best), WCL Het Zuiden (Eindhoven), R&TC Wilhelmina (Eindhoven) and Trap met Lust (Geldrop). TML Dommelstreek has a rich history, but of course, they all ride in an outfit now. To bring the history of these associations better in view and admire it, Ton started to collect them. A special initiative!

The jerseys of the much mentioned brands such as Molteni, Peugeot and Flandria are of course already in his collection. Obviously, these are the 'must have' jerseys, but that is not what makes his collection so unique. It is the hundreds of jerseys that many people do not even know exist. To name one example: the jersey of the Jaise-Banco Popular-Philips team from Costa Rica in 1994. The team, which was indeed sponsored by Philips, consisted mainly of riders from Central and South America, but not to forget a Frenchman and a Belgian.

On his website, he shows his collection very accurate and well-organised. I therefore recommend you to have a look around on his website.