1909 Detroit Tigers Match Safe

Sold For: $2,350

Auction Year: 2010 spring

Lot: 1231

Item Year: 1909

Category: Post-1900 Baseball Memorabilia

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Gorgeous high-grade example of one of the great celluloid baseball pieces of the early 1900s. Rarely found this nice! Perhaps the finest example of this classic we have ever offered. These match safes, which were given away as advertising vehicles, were very popular in "the old days" to store and protect matches, and are very popular with collectors today. They are rare and extremely desirable in any condition but usually have staining and foxing. This celluloid advertising match safe features portraits of the Detroit Tigers and celebrates the Tigers' consecutive American League Championships of 1907 and 1908. It is one of the few celluloid match safes featuring Major League baseball players. Measuring 2.75 x 1.5 inches, the celluloid covering features oval portraits of twenty-four members of the Detroit Tigers on one side and advertising for Mundus Beer of Detroit, Michigan, on the reverse. The storage compartment opens from the top (which is actually the left side when viewing the player portraits). Each team member is identified in print below his image, including Ty Cobb, manager Hughie Jennings, owner Frank Navin, Sam Crawford, Germany Schaefer, and George Mullin. Two illustrated banners, reading "Champions of the American League 1907" and "Champions of the American League 1908," respectively, complete the elaborate design. The match safe displays beautifully with absolutely no age toning or foxing, just a hint of light wear to the metal ends. One of the most unusual celluloid pieces of the era, this is a very attractive and rare souvenir commemorating the Tigers 1907-09 dynasty, and one that would be a prize in many different types of collections. Striking Near Mint condition. Reserve $300. Estimate $500/$1,000+. SOLD FOR $2,350

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