Rainer Brenner • 23.10.2018

«Peter only ever knows what he is looking for, when he comes across it.»

Peter Finazzi is an enthusiastic collector. But the stories about his treasures are much more important than the treasures themselves. We have been given a private tour through his diary on a large scale.

Peter Finazzi welcomes us with a firm handshake by his front door and starts directly with the tour through his private museum. «The special thing about my collection is its variety», explains the qualified car mechanic, his eyes shining with enthusiasm. The three floors of the detached family home in Möhlin are therefore shared by the family of four with 14,640 autographs, 5,254 pins, 196 beer mugs, 146 bicycle water bottles, 732 hats, 524 double metre sticks, 500 model cars, an enormous cupboard crammed full with signed sports shirts, various signed sports shoes, stuffed animals and much, much more.

Most of this is hoarded by Finazzi in the basement. Caps are hanging from the ceiling in the laundry room, while pins, autograph files and small cabinets, in which the collector displays his mini-exhibitions, are stored next door in the ironing room: Unforgettable sporting events, an audience with Peter Sauber, the family outing to an autograph signing, the Formula 1 racing car on his wedding day…

Shared enjoyment

His fan and collecting empire already started when he was a child. The inhabitant of Aargau searched for fossils in the nearby gravel pit. Since then he has been collecting souvenirs, and most of them have something to do with sport. However, he acquired his first autograph card from the FCB goalie Marcel Kunz more by chance in 1972 – namely at the open air swimming pool kiosk in Möhlin. But it laid the foundations for all the hours he spent chasing signatures of sports stars and other celebrities. His autograph collection is now one of the most impressive in Switzerland, but is far from playing the starring role in the «Finazzi-Museum».

He is actually most interested in items, which have a story to tell about personal connections. For example that to Ivan Rakitc. Like Finazzi, the footballer also grew up in sedate Möhlin. Finazzi has pursued his career with pride and enthusiasm from the outset. He has devoted half a room to the Barcelona striker alone. «Sometimes Ivan’s father pops in here, takes some photos and sends them to his son. He is amazed by my collection, and also brings me some new things if the opportunity arises». These moments when his treasures are looked at and admired, motivate Finazzi particularly. He is therefore happy to share his collection with other people – for example in the local community hall, where an exhibition was devoted to the collector in 2012.

No room to iron

Finazzi talks enthusiastically and with few pauses. He includes dates and names, of which we know only a few. The tour ends on the attic floor, where last but not least he shows us the Monza route he has copied with Carrera utensils. «I have a strong connection to all these things, regardless of their value for other people. Even to throw one thing away, would be unbelievably difficult for me». The fact that his collection now covers the whole house, is thanks to the tolerance of his wife, with whom he has shared his life for 40 years. Rosi sits down with us at a table in the sitting room. We are not the first visitors to admire the family museum. In addition to a few well-known sports stars and role models of Finazzi, the press has also been here several times. When asked about her husband’s passion, Rosi smiles drily and shrugs her shoulders. «Collecting makes him happy, so that’s why we go along with it».

However, Rosi’s understanding does have its limits: «My former ironing room is so full that there is now hardly any room to actually iron».

That’s why the 59 year-old has promised her that he will concentrate only on autographs from now on – they take up the least space. «But Peter only ever knows what he is looking for, when he comes across it», explains his wife. For example last summer he accompanied his sons to cliff jumping in Sisikon. The jumpers impressed him so much that a new collection of photos, landing platforms and signed Red Bull cans arose spontaneously from this.

In good hands

After our three-hour visit, we not only found out a lot about Peter’s sports stars and celebrities, but also a few things about his family. This is because his collection is really a diary on a large scale. As a farewell gesture, we write «Thank you for the private tour» in Peter’s small visitors’ book and sign underneath. It feels special to know that someone will always remember this handwritten page. Somehow we feel we are in good hands.