Thursday, September 17, 2020

Cards and Vintage Things: The Matchbook Dating Game

 Stealing a title concept from Nine Pockets. Or I could have stolen Baseball Card Breakdown's Ignorable Filler Post as my matchbook posts don't generate much interest. But the latest matchbook lot I bought gave me an idea for a new series that may make them more interesting. Or less.

I actually bought three different lots from one eBay seller.

One lot was Matchoramas. These are oversized matchbooks (30- or 40-strike books) from the 1960s and 1970s with full-color photography. This lot was all hotels. I love the ones with the interiors, it really feels like stepping into a 1960s hotel room.

Another lot was of various New York State matchbooks. Some fun Long Island ones there including a long-gone strip club from a town right near me. Also I wonder if a certain Watertown-based reader might know the Crystal Restaurant. Note the four digit phone number!

But the big draw was several "dated" lots. Unlike baseball cards matchbooks are rarely dated; often it is hard to guess even what decade it is from. Every matchbook in this lot had at least a year, if not an actual date. These ranged from the 1930s to the 1980s, with most in the 1960s. Some highlights: my first Horn & Hardart (Automat restaurants) matchbook; a shiny matchbook from 1942, 1967 and 1969 calendars, an old Bell telephone matchbook, local supermarket ShopRite and the Garden City Fire Department, and a Coca-Cola 100th anniversary.
The dated matchbooks also gave me an idea for this blog. I thought it would be fun to pair up matchbooks with a specific date during the baseball season with the local player who had the best game that day.
To start off, here is a matchbook that sort of fits in. This matchbook from O'Brien's Restaurant in Waverly, NY was not printed with a date but someone stamped the back "August 2, 1963". August 2, 1963 was a light news day; headlines were primarily about reactions to the Nuclear Test Ban and some civil rights protests in Alabama. Waverly is on the NY/Pennsylvania border about halfway between Philadelphia and Pittsburgh. On that date the Phillies, Pirates and Yankees all lost. The only "local" team to win was the Mets, who won 3-1 in 11 innings in Milwaukee. I don't have a card of Joe Hicks, who got the game-winning hit, but perhaps more impressive was Galen Cisco, who pitched ten innings without allowing an earned run to get the victory.


  1. You should focus on strip clubs and periodically have us vote on the best name.

  2. For what it's worth, I like your matchbook posts, despite not being a collector of them myself. I just appreciate being able to read about and/or see something different, I need variety in my blogroll, and these posts provide that.