Allee Willis’ Kitsch O’ The Day – Dr. Martin Luther King Matches


I have tons of MLK memorabilia – busts, rugs, pens, cufflinks, ashtrays – but this book of matches is one of my favorites. Comes in a matching set with Jackie Robinson, Mahalia Jackson, Dr. Ralph J. Bunche, Lorraine Hansberry, Zora Neale Hurston, Paul Laurence Dunbar and Bill Pickett.

I, thankfully, have found three sets of these over the years so have slowly struck the first MLK, © 1976 Universal Match Series 1, which is down to three matches and counting.



Categories: Bar accessory, Civil Rights, empowerment, Kitsch, Kitsch O' The Day, Memorabilia, Products

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  • Vincent says:

    Hi, what type of vaule would you put on the entire set which includes eight books of matches of couse Dr. King, Mahalia Jackson, Bill Pickett, Jackie Robinson, Dr. Ralph Bunche, Paul Laurence Dunbar, Lorraning Hansberry and Zora Neal Hurston.

    • Allee says:

      I have the entire set. They come in a little plastic case although oftentimes are sold separately on eBay. I honestly don’t know the value as I’ve seen the individual matchbooks go for anywhere from $5-$25 each. With that said, I only paid $10 for the entire set. I have a massive African-American memorabilia collection and don’t know if you know that I’ve also written some hits in that genre (September and Boogie Wonderland for Earth Wind & Fire, The Color Purple musical among them) so some of the value of the set that I have is in context with my collection and career. I would imagine the entire set in the case would be appraised in the area of $75-$125 but that’s just a guess. Hope that helps.

  • Lori says:

    Ms.Willis: What a great site — an older, black gentleman, friend of mine (72) has a brass (or heavy copper plate) that he covets and admires. Wanted me to look into “…if it had any value to it more than his own.” It is of MLK Jr., a plate shape, and around the head says,”1929 Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., 1968 I Have A Dream.” But, wait!

    On the back it says, “Timberlane Trading Co. 1968 Greensboro, NC, Name and Image of Dr. MLK, Jr Estate of MLK Jr. All rights reserved.”

    I can find nothing even on Timberlane. Help?

    Also, he says he has an original shot of the Greensboro Four from the WoolWorths sit-in. More help?

    Friend of a survivor — thank you and best regards, Lori

    • Allee says:

      Both items sound great. Hard to tell anything without seeing photos though. There’s A LOT of MLK memorabilia. And 1968 was the peak year for it because of the assassination so it either could be a really mass produced plate or one where very few were made. I don’t know anything specifically about Timberlane Trading Co. and if you already googled it that would be the same thing I would do to try and find out about it. Value depends most importantly on how many of these were made. If I saw a photo (which you can email to me at if you want) I could at least tell you if it was rare or not. As far as the photograph, I probably wouldn’t know much about that myself as far as whether there were lots of prints of it or not but I do probably know someone who would know.

  • Sarah Ann says:

    Sunday at a flea market for $3.00 each I purchased Mahalia Jackson & Bill Pickett. I was not aware and purchased them to add to my Black Memorabilia collection. Is this company still in existence??? Flea markets are the only places to find such.????

    • Allee says:

      Mahalia Jackson & Bill Picket are two out of the eight matchbooks that were included in the set that also included Dr. Ralph J. Bunche, Lorraine Hansberry, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jackie Robinson, Paul Laurence Dunbar And Zora Neale Hurston. I doubt the company that made these is still in existence. They were made in 1976. The only marking on the matches or case is Universal Match Series 1. These definitely show up on eBay every now and then so check there as well.

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