Sunday, 22 March 2015

After the Game Enjoy a Cal!

One of the great categories of items to collect that will be covered in the planned future Volume 4 of Collecting Canadian Football - Publications and Ephemera, is schedules. These come in a huge variety of sizes and forms issued by hundreds of different organizations and sponsors, often with killer vintage graphics. This is one area of Canadian football collecting where, with a little diligence a collector can reasonably expect to unearth pre-World War II items from time to time.

Sometimes a company issued schedules for many years and one of these fascinating series of items will be previewed here. The Calgary Brewing and Malting Company was a long time sponsor of the Calgary Stampeders team with regular advertising in the game programs from the team's very first season. Illustrated here is the center lineup page from a 1948 home program showing the distinctive buffalo head Calgary logo. The advertisements featured their ginger ale products which the alcoholic beverage brewer had begun to produce during the short period of prohibition in Canada.

As early as 1954 we see the company producing an attractive schedule for the Western Interprovincial Football Union that was folded twice to provide 3 panels per side. One side typically contained the results from the previous season's games and the other side contained the schedule for the current season with spaces for the owner of the schedule to write in the scores. There was a lot of information packed into the available space including the top scorers from the previous season and great advertising and football graphics.

The schedules were issued every year and starting in 1958 they were expanded to multiple pages in a little booklet that was like a mini media guide crammed with interesting info.

By 1961 the schedule was changed to W.F.C. for Western Football Conference as noted on the schedule pictured below. Although the company was absorbed by a larger brewing conglomerate in 1961 the schedules continued to be issued until at least 1964 with the last buffalo head logo appearing in 1963. The historic brewery site in Calgary is now the focus of a redevelopment battle between those interested in saving the heritage facility and those wishing to redevelop the prime real estate the buildings occupy.

Schedule collecting can be very easy on the pocketbook as teams and businesses give the schedules away for free every year to promote the product. Even when purchasing older schedules on the secondary market they are typically among the lowest priced vintage collectibles that a hobbyist can acquire. But these gems are highly sought after and you can expect to pay relatively high prices for any of these items, especially the multiple page ones. Because they were designed to be written on, schedules that are unmarked will also command a hefty premium. A late fifties unmarked high grade schedule recently sold on ebay for $150 USD!

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