Collecting 1930s Sports Matchbooks
Athletes were popular subjects for 1930s matchbook covers. Here's a look at some of the more popular memorabilia from this era.
Diamond Match Company of Barberton, Ohio got the matchbook collecting craze started for sports fans in the 1930s. The company jumped into the arena with both feet, issuing a set of 200 matchbooks with four different background color variations.
The Diamond set showcases players of various skill levels and notoriety but among those issued were nearly two dozen Hall of Famers including Dizzy Dean, KiKi Cuyler and Carl Hubbell. There is even a Casey Stengel matchbook (yes, Casey was once a player). Matchbooks from this set sell for $6-25 for common players and $75-90 for stars according to the Standard Catalog of Sports Memorabilia.
In 1939, Ross Jewelers of Washington DC entered the football matchbook field with it's set of 20 Redskins players. Highlighting the set is Hall of Famer Sammy Baugh. That book is worth $50 while the others in the set sell for $17-30 each.
In 1940, another Skins set was issued with Baugh again highlighting at $38 with other books in the $6-17 range each.
In '41, the books returned to Redskin-land with another 20-player set sponsored by Home Laundry Company. Baugh's book sells for $50 today with the others in the $10-20 range.
One of the less expensive, but more interesting matchbook sets is the 1934 set issued by Group One Sports. Players from college and pro football, baseball and hockey are featured. No major stars are included but the set includes a variety of players from several popular schools that never wound up on a regular NFL trading card, since those issues were still 14 years away.