Saturday, April 4, 2009

ephemera with provenance

Yesterday, I received a new addition to my female impersonator ephemera collection: The Wonder Club matchbook you see on the right.

About a month ago, I received an e-mail out of the blue from Dennis, who wrote, "While doing a search on Google for 'The Wonder Club New Orleans,' your page came up. I noticed your interest in ephemera and since I was researching the Wonder Club because I have a matchbook from there I was going to offer on eBay I thought you might be interested in it and I wouldn't have to list it."

I was definitely interested and after exchanging e-mails, Dennis offered the matchbook cover gratis because it was not in the best condition. He also provided the following story about how he obtained it.

"I'm a collector of nautical/navy stuff and I won an old US Navy hat (the obsolete, brimless, Donald Duck type) on eBay a few years ago. I had put it away for a couple of years, but took it out recently to display it in my new apartment.

"As I was checking it and 'squaring it away,' I felt something in the headband. I figured out how to get it out without damaging the hat or the object. It was the matchbook! Some sailor had stashed this book of matches in his hat years ago and there it was until I found it last week.

"He (or someone) had written in pencil Lt.(?) Becht on the inside of the matchbook. You can see it in one of the pictures. This hat belonged to an enlisted man. There is no name written in the hat although there usually is."

"I know what I'm gonna say next might seem crazy or something, but here goes - I have no use for this item, but I hate to throw ANYTHING away. Due to its - not so great condition - and wanting someone who collects these types of items to have it, it's yours if you want it for free.

"This arrangement will satisfy my borderline craziness for refusing to throw anything away and at the same time, take it off my hands. Just tell me where to send it and I'll put it in the mail. All I ask is if you find out anything about the matchbook, Lt. Brecht or the club itself let me know."

What a great story!

Dennis, thank you so much for an interesting addition to my collection.

By the way, I estimate that the matchbook is from the 1940s or early 1950s. It features a photo of Mr. Billy Richard, "Gay Guy from Hollywood."

And, as usual, click on the image to magnify it.

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