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1930′s Football Matchbook Covers

As a football fan, I find the 1930's Football Matchbook Covers fascinating. Imagine getting a player's bio information into a space as small as the back of a matchbook! So much more functional than a football card too, because you could light your cigar or cigarette with one of the matches in the matchbook. Try doing that with a football card!

1930's Football Matchbook Covers - Part of Diamond Match Company's Group 1 Line

Back in the 1930's, the Diamond Match Company produced a number of matchcover sets from a wide range of topics, including sports. Within the overall sports category, they produced sets from Baseball, Football and Hockey. All the sets featured various players on a range of different teams. Several years after the production of all of these sets, early matchcover collectors realized there was a problem. There was no known listing of the various sets. No idea who or how many players were featured, for example. Fortunately for those of us in the hobby today, early matchcover hobby enthusiasts and key movers and shakers within the hobby stepped up and documented the various sets. The two gentlemen that undertook this project? Tom Torrent & Frank Tripodi. The lists were known as - and still are to this day - the T&T lists. There were lists for all of the Diamond Match Co. Group 1 sets.
In the sports realm, and in particular the football category, they realized that there were a number of variations to several of the sets of covers. In some cases, the differences were as minute as a brown striker instead of a black striker. Or the ink used was brown vs. black. Or that the players name was below the team name on one set and above it in another. I'm not sure anyone knows at this point why Diamond made the sets with different variations, or if it was even intentional. Regardless, these differences meant there were indeed multiple variations of many of the overall sets.

1930's Football Matchbook Covers - The T&T Group 1 Sets

In order to give you an idea of the depth of the Diamond Group 1 1930's Football Matchbook Covers, I'd like to provide you with a brief synopsis of each set and sub set below.

T&T List #17 - First Football (Silver Set)

This set was produced in 1933 and as with the Silver Hockey set, it's the rarest of all of the sets. Not only was the silver set the first and oldest set, it's thought to have been a much smaller production run. The First Football set, known in the matchcover hobby as the Silver Football Set provided the 1932 stats of importance for each of the players. The background color of the matchcovers in this set was silver of course, with the players in both a green and pink background. An interesting component of this initial 1930's Football Matchcover Set was that it included All American College Football players as well as professional football players. Another oddity in my mind is that there was a matchcover that didn't feature a player that was included in this set. It featured the All American seal on the front and a history of the organization on the back. In yet another strange twist, this cover is a Diamond Quality, while none of the others in the set are. They had the standard Diamond Match Co manumark. Here are some of the examples from this set:

Pendergast_Silver2  Apsit_Silver  Nagurski_Silver

As was the case with all T&T lists, compilation of these lists didn't take place until sometime in the late 1940's or early 1950's, meaning 10-15 years had passed since these sets had been produced. In the case of this particular set - Silver Football - there were a number of covers thought to have been produced, but that at the time of the list publication had never been seen. It's a pretty fair bet that the listing of 189 covers in the set is correct, but some of the players had only been documented with a stats area in either Pink or Green, but not both. The 189 figure included 94 players x 2 colors for each player + the single All American cover. Seems they had a good handle on the names of the players, but just couldn't verify various colors for all the players.

Be sure to check out Jack's entire >Group 1 First Football Matchcover Collection!

T&T List #18 - Second Football - Type I

The T&T Second Football set had two variations. The first was known as Type I, and surprisingly enough, the second variation was known as Type II! When you see these 1930's football matchbook covers for sale on sites like eBay, you very rarely see any distinction made between the covers, leaving the matchcover collector to wonder which set the various matchcovers are from. In some cases, the differences - such as the ink color, for example - are very hard to determine from a low res scan.
The Type I set from the Second football set was produced in 1934. It featured four different background colors, including Blue, Green, Red & Tan. At the time the list was compiled, it couldn't be determined that each player appeared in all four colors. It would certainly seem odd that a set would be made with some in all four colors, while others were only shown in one or two colors, but not the others. In any even, the list as shown indicates there were 114 different players featured in the set, with a total of 176 covers in it. As with the Silver football set, they included some covers they believed were produced but hadn't actually seen themselves. For example, they included a blue matchcover featuring Lone star Dietz. They hadn't actually seen the cover themselves, but had heard of its existence. Again, it seems a bit odd to me that Diamond would have produced a set with only some players in a certain color. But I defer to the list as I'm sure that Messrs. Torrent & Tripodi knew of what they spoke when the published these lists. As with the Silver Football set, this set included college players as well as professional football players.
An interesting component of this list as well as all T&T Group 1 Football lists going forward included a notation of what was included on the last line in the bio area, which was located on the back of the matchbook. It's my belief this was done so it would make it easier for the matchcover collector to determine which set a particular cover was from as they were adding it to their matchcover collection.
The Second Football Type I matchcover included a manufacturer's imprint on a single line as follows: The Diamond Match Co., N.Y.C. Here are some examples from this set:
Flaherty_RedOehler_Tan Edwards_Green

Be sure to check out Jack's entire Group 1 Second Football Type I Matchcover Collection!

T&T List #19 - Second Football - Type II

The second variation of the Second Football set, featuring 1930's Football Matchbook Covers was produced in 1935. It differs from the Second Football Type I set in that there was a change in each players descriptive data and that the players appear in only three different background colors as opposed to four. The colors in this set were Green, Red & Tan. Another difference is that each player only appears in one color, instead of multiple colors. One can only assume this was an effort to cut down on production costs of the set. The manufacturer's imprint is on two lines in the Type II set as follows:
Made In U.S.A.
The Diamond Match Co. N.Y.C.
This variation of the Second Football matchcover set was comprised of 96 matchcovers in total, featuring 96 players. The listing is considered to be complete. Some examples from this set:
Blazine_Red   Vaughan_Tan2  Padlow_Red

Be sure to check out Jack's entire Group 1 Second Football Type II Matchcover Collection!

 

T&T List #20 - Third Football- Type 1

The Third Football set, featuring 1930's Football Matchbook Covers featured 6 different variations and was produced between 1936 and 1939. The Type 1 set was manufactured in 1939. The Third Football sets differ from the Second Football sets in that the player's pictures are shown in what appears to be a picture frame as opposed to the square black lined box. The background colors in these sets are as they were in the Second Football Type 2 set - Green, Red & Tan. As with that set, the Third Football Type 1 set has each player in a single color. In a first at this point in these sets, this set contained matchcovers featuring a single team. In the case of this set, it was the Philadelphia Eagles. The ink used to print this set was black in color, instead of the brown ink used in previous sets to this point.

The set contained a total of 17 matchcovers, featuring 17 different players. the manufacturer's imprint is on two lines as follows:

Made in U.S.A.

The Diamond Match Co. N.Y.C.

These sets serve as a double edged sword for matchcover collectors. On the plus side, there are multiple sets to be able to complete. On the down side, completing these sets can be an extremely difficult as well as costly proposition. Considering these covers are 75+ years old and that many of these matchcovers, just as others from this era are sitting in attics or basements all around the country waiting to be thrown away when the original collectors pass on, there are only a few ways to come by these old time vintage covers. Trading with other like minded matchcover collectors, buying a complete collection, or buying the ones you need via a place such as eBay in an auction format, or via RMS auctions.

Some examples from the Third Football - Type 1 set:

Buss_Red  Kusko_Tan2  Pilconis Green

Be sure to check out Jack's entire Group 1 Third Football Type I Matchcover Collection!

T&T List #21 - Third Football - Type 2

The Third Football Type 2 set was produced in 1936. If you are like most folks, you likely had no idea that there were so many variations to the 1930's Football Matchbook Covers, did you? Not only was it incredible that there were so many variations to these sets, I find it equally incredible that two matchcover collectors, a decade + later were able to piece together all these variances and put together some very comprehensive lists of all the different covers.

The Third Football Type 2 set differs from the Type 1 set in that the player's position appears on the back of the matchbook directly below their name and just above the bio area. The background colors are the same in the Type 2 set as Type 1, but each player only appears in one color. All of the players in this set - with the lone exception of Don Jackson - played for the Chicago Bears. The color of the ink used in this set was black.

The manufacturer's imprint appears on two lines as is the case with most of these 1930's Football Matchbook Cover sets. It reads as follows:

Made in U.S.A.

The Diamond Match Co. N.Y.C.

There are thirty players featured in this set, and the thirty covers are considered be a complete set. Here are some examples from this set:

   Brumbaugh Carl Tan  Fortmann Daniel Green  Nagurski Bronko Red

Be sure to check out Jack's entire Group 1 Third Football Type II Matchcover Collection!

T&T List #22 - Third Football - Type 3

The Third Football Type 3 set appeared in 1939. This set is almost identical to the Third Football Type 1 set with two differences. First, the ink used was brown in color. Secondly, the background colors for all of the players, with the exception of three, are different from the Type 1 set. The fact that there were different background colors used for nearly all the players is actually a good thing for the matchbook cover collector, although I'm sure didn't have anything to do with the reasoning behind doing this. It's a good thing for the collector building out his matchcover collection because it is extremely difficult at this point to tell the brown ink from the black ink. Of course I don't know if this was always the case or not, but it seems to me the aging process has made it very difficult to tell the difference between the two.

The manufacturer's imprint appears on two lines as is the case with most of these 1930's Football Matchbook Cover sets. It reads as follows:

Made in U.S.A.

The Diamond Match Co. N.Y.C.

This set features the Philadelphia Eagles only and is considered a complete set of 17 matchcovers. Here are some examples of covers from this set:

Buss Art Green  Pilconis Joe Tan  Manske Ed Red

Be sure to check out Jack's entire Group 1 Third Football Type III Matchcover Collection!

T&T List #23 - Third Football Type 4

The Third Football Type 4 set was produced in 1937. This set is almost identical to the Third Football Type 2 set with a few exceptions. First, the ink color used was brown. There are also some changes in background colors for various players, but it wasn't the general change as was the case between the Type 1 and Type 3 sets. The list of players in this set is identical to the Type 2 set, but for some reason, Ed Nolting appears in two colors, while everyone else has only one color. As with the Third Football Type 2 set, all the players - with the exception of Don Jackson - are from the Chicago Bears.

The manufacturer's imprint appears on two lines as is the case with most of these 1930's Football Matchbook Cover sets. It reads as follows:

Made in U.S.A.

The Diamond Match Co. N.Y.C.

As I mentioned earlier, these sets really become very difficult to distinguish from each other when the main difference is the color of the ink that was used. However, I was able to search out the covers with the differing background colors so as to be able to provide some examples of this set as seen below:

Doehring John Red 3rd Type 4  Nagurski Bronko Red 3rd Type 4  Stydahar Joseph Green 3rd Type 4

Be sure to check out Jack's entire Group 1 Third Football Type IV Matchcover Collection!

T&T List #23 - Third Football - Type 5

The Third Football Type 5 set was produced in 1937. It's very similar to the Type 4 set, but if you get your magnifying glass out, you'll see that the size of the type is a bit smaller than is the type in the earlier sets. Fortunately, that's not the only difference, or the matchcover collector would go bonkers trying to determine what covers went to what sets! In the case of the Type 5 set, there were a number of new players that were featured on the matchcovers and there were some changes to the descriptive data for players who were featured in earlier sets. Whew! That's good to hear! All members of this set played for the Chicago Bears (Don Jackson of the Eagles must have retired!), and once again, Diamond went back to featuring each player in the set on each of the three colors - Green, Red & Tan. 24 players featured, with a total of 72 matchcovers in the set, which is considered to be complete. The ink color is Brown.

The manufacturer's imprint appears on two lines as is the case with most of these 1930's Football Matchbook Cover sets. It reads as follows:

Made in U.S.A.

The Diamond Match Co. N.Y.C.

Here is a sampling of the 1930's Football Matchbook Covers from the Third Football, Type 5 set:

Feathers William Tan 3rd Type 5  Manske Edgar Red 3rd Type 5  Trost Milton Tan 3rd Type 5

Be sure to check out Jack's entire Group 1 Third Football Type V Matchcover Collection!

T&T List #24 - Third Football - Type 6

The final subset or Type from the Third Football master set was produced in 1938. Once again, this set is very similar to a previous set - Third Football Type 5. But, once again, Diamond changed things up a bit. They shifted to black ink again and they also went back to having each player appear on one color background again. This set had the same colors as the other Third Football sets - Green, Red, & Tan. As with the previous set, Type 5, there are 24 players featured, and with only one color for each, there were a total of 24 matchcovers. The set is considered to be complete at the listed 24.

The manufacturer's imprint appears on two lines as is the case with most of these 1930's Football Matchbook Cover sets. It reads as follows:

Made in U.S.A.

The Diamond Match Co. N.Y.C.

Here are some examples from this particular set - keep in mind that the brown ink color looks almost identical to black at this stage of the game:

Corbett George Green 3rd Type 6  Karr William Tan 3rd Type 6  Sullivan Frank Red 3rd Type 6

Be sure to check out Jack's entire Group 1 Third Football Type VI Matchcover Collection!

T&T List #25 - Fourth Football

The Fourth Football set has only one version - unlike it's predecessor, which had 6 types. This set was produced in 1938 and differs from all other previous types. As with the First Football set, the Fourth Football set has a silver background. But that's where any similarity ends. The front of the matchbook show a head and shoulders of the featured player. On the back, you'll find a player bio. 12 of the 1930's Football Matchbook Covers in this set have the bio in a blue box, with the other 12 appearing in a red box. The printing on this particular set was done in white ink. The saddle of the matchbook contains the player's name and the team he played for, overlayed on a light tan football. It's interesting to note that all of the players who have their bios in the red boxes played for the Chicago Bears, while those with bios in blue boxes played for the Detroit Lions.

24 matchcovers in this particular set and it is shown to be complete at that number.

The manufacturer's imprint appears on two lines as is the case with most of these 1930's Football Matchbook Cover sets. It reads as follows:

Made in U.S.A.

The Diamond Match Co. N.Y.C.

Here's a sampling of the Fourth Football set:

Moscrip_Silver_Blue  Manders_Silver_Red  Wojciechowicz_Blue_Silver

Be sure to check out Jack's entire Group 1 Fourth Football Matchcover Collection!

College Rivals - Type 1

In yet another variation of Group 1 Football Matchbook Covers produced by Diamond Match Co. in the 1930's, college football rivalries were front and center in this set. There were three different types made for this set, which I will outline below. These listings were put together by Mssrs. Torrent & Tripodi, but interestingly, this list is not numbered as all of the other T&T lists are.

The Type 1 set of the College Rivalry matchbook covers was produced in 1934. The set contains 24 matchcovers. Twelve rival teams are shown and each appears in two background colors - Tan & Black. Knute Rockne is mentioned on the Notre Dame - Army Rivalry matchcover.

The manufacturer's imprint is on a single line and reads The Diamond Match Co. N.Y.C. The following are some examples from this set:

Alabama_Fordham  Holy Cross - Boston College Rivalries 1  Yale-Princeton Tan Rivalries 1

Be sure to check out Jack's entire Group 1 Football College Rivalries Type I Matchcover Collection!

College Rivals - Type 2

The College Rivals Type 2 Football Matchbook Cover Set was produced in 1935 and contains 24 matchcovers. The set is almost identical to the Type 1 set in that all the same rivalries are featured. The only difference of course is the information about the previous year's game.

The manufacturer's imprint is on a single line and reads The Diamond Match Co. N.Y.C. The following are some examples from this set:

Lafayette - Lehigh Black Rivalries 2  U Penn -  Cornell Tan Rivalries 2  Yale - Harvard Black Rivalries 2

Be sure to check out Jack's entire Group 1 Football College Rivalries Type II Matchcover Collection!

College Rivals - Type 3

The College Rivals Type 3 Football Matchbook Cover set was produced in 1935, which appears to be a re run of Type 2 with two differences. First, the manufacturer's imprint is on two lines on this particular set instead of the single line in the previous two types. Secondly, this set was produced in Tan only, no Black matchcovers were produced.

The following are some examples from this set:

Army - Navy Black Rivalries 3 Michigan - Ohio State Black Rivalries 3  Notre Dame - USC Tan Rivalries 3

Be sure to check out Jack's entire Group 1 Football College Rivalries Type III Matchcover Collection!

That wraps up the T&T listings of all of the Diamond Match Company Group 1 Football Matchbook Covers. My hope is that if you have ever had an interest in these 1930's era Football matchbook covers, or have seen them on eBay or in other venues and had questions about them that you found this both educational and informative.

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