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Marble King Trophy


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Dear Marble Collecting Comrades~~Can anyone give me a little more insight into this trophy I just bought? It is 14 inches tall, and in overall good shape other than some plating loss. I know all about Berry Pink and Marble King, or as much as I need to know about his sponsorship of marble tournaments, running Marble King for years, etc. What I would like to know is: What level of competition does this trophy represent, state, regional, or national championship? I feel it is too fancy for just a city tourney. Are there any others known? I have collected marbles for over 30 years, and have never seen another. Most unfortunately, the winner did not have his/her name engraved on it, or it might be possible to date it. Does anyone know of other styles used by MK, so that the range of years this one was used might be able to be determined? Mine apparently came out of the estate of a lady collector of many things, from Adrian, Michigan, not the estate of the winner. The front plate says: MARBLE KING TROPHY presented by BERRY PINK to the CHAMPION. The unit was apparently manufactured by Dodge Inc. New York Chicago Los Angeles, at least the plastic base was. I am quite stoked by my purchase, needless to say, it is undoubtably a rare piece. I have attended about 12 Amana's, 3 New England, and 5 Columbus shows (all some time ago, I admit) and never saw anything even related to it, such as smaller versions, etc. Any insight would be appreciated. I tried to upload more pics, but was told I cannot upload that kind of file, JPG? If someone could help me, I would be happy to upload as many pics as you want. The kid on the trophy is wearing high-top tennis shoes and "plus fours", a sleeveless sweater and a long-sleeved shirt, and a tie, not forgetting his big smile and crown of course. I'm prejudiced, but I find it quite charmng. I was on pins and needles for 2 weeks before I managed to buy it. The butterflies in the old stomach were really flappin' at the auction, I was deathly afraid some heavy hitter would walk in and crush me! Score one for the old timers, we ain't dead yet. Having just bought it, I'm not too keen on selling it, unless someone made me "an offer I can't refuse". Right now, I'm in the afterglow of what I consider a coup. Nothing like a good hit to revive your enthusiasm! Thanks for any help. Dinkybus Don


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Not identical but looks related. Maybe they had different designs in different years.


In May of 1940, Robert H. Hager (left), physical education supervisor for Tacoma Public Schools, and Al Hodges, playground and recreation supervisor for Metropolitan Parks, were photographed demonstrating the correct "knuckle down" hand position required in the upcoming Marble King Tournament, no "fudging" was allowed. All of Tacoma's 43 schools participated in the preliminary contests that began on May 20th. The finalists faced off on June 4th on the Central School playground to determine Tacoma's "Marble King". The overall champion won both a trophy and a trip to New York City to represent Tacoma in the national competition held June 24-29th. Included in this photograph with the local organizers of the tournament are the various medals, and emblems that were awarded to the top competitors from each school and the top winners trophy. (T. Times 5/16/1940, pg.7; 5/8/1940, pg. 1)


Robert H. Hager, physical education supervisor for Tacoma Public Schools, and Al Hodges, playground supervisor Metropolitan Parks, pose with the Marble King tournament trophy, medals, school champion emblems and box of marbles. The Tacoma marble tournament, to determine the Marble King, would begin May 20, 1940 with school preliminary rounds. The overall winner would go to the national grand finals in New York City June 24-29. Any Tacoma school boy, or girl, under 14 was eligible. The championship game between the winners at Tacoma's 43 schools would be held on June 4 on Central School's playground. The "Roto" version of the game would be played, starting with 15 marbles in a 10 foot diameter ring. All players had to "knuckle down" and no "fudging" was allowed. The City champion will receive the trophy and the gold medal. The trophy was put up by "Berry Pink," national director of the Marble King competition. (T. Times 5/8/1940, pg. 1; 5/16/40, pg. 7)

Looks like a box of Rainbos, doesn't it.

Source: Tacoma Public Library Image Archives

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And the winner is ... Jimmy Collins!


Date: 06-04-1940

Description: Here are the four lads who were crowned district marbles champions at the end of the city wide competition held at the Central playfield, near what is now So. 11th and Yakima, on June 4, 1940. Sharp shooting Jimmy Collins (third from left), a 12-year-old pupil at Sacred Heart parochial school, won the trophy for city champ and the title of Marble King. The other district champs were (l to r): Vernon Keister, of Gault, junior high champion; Dale Henderson, of Sherman school, North End champion; and Dave Strandley, far right, South End champion. Collins was eligible to compete with the Marble Kings of 300 other American cities at the National matches June 17-22th in New York City. (T.Times 6/5/1940 p.1 &10)

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" Score one for the old timers, we ain't dead yet."

Hello Dinkybus,

Woo Hoo!

What a cool Berry Pink - Marble King trophy. I have seen a number of Marble Playing Awards, but I never saw one like yours before. :Money_0031: That big trophy would be the focal point of any Marble Display.

Nice Score for the One of the Good Old-timers!!! :Happy_143:

Did the marbles in the picture come with the award? How about a few more pics of the trophy. When you figure out the picture uploading, I'd love to see a close-up of the figure atop the trophy - he definitely looks like the King of Marbles.

And how about Steph- after a while you just expect this kind of research from her. Here is another time that she comes through for us with pertinent information on a relatively obscure subject. I am always amazed at the amount of info she digs up on almost any facet of Marble Collecting.

Steph, once again, you have passed normal and landed in extraordinary.

Thanks to both of you for sharing.

I'm Hip & an Old-timer too,


Lloyd Huffer

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Thanks Lloyd.

So it does look like Don's might be a city level trophy. (doesn't it?)

At least for a biggish city.

300 cities in 48 states. I guess the little towns would have sent their reps to the nearest metropolitan area to compete? Or were the more rural areas left out?

Great question Galen!

For that year and any other?!

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One possibility is that the trophies were re-used. The winners may have had to return them for presentation to the next year's winner. ?

Perhaps Don now has one of a very limited production from the 30's, which may have been recycled until it was replaced by the taller style in the 1940 photos.

Perhaps the newspapers, or whoever sponsored the events, eventually discarded them. -- not having the same emotional attachment as the winners would have.


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p.s. How many "national" marble tournaments were there in 1940?

At least two, it appears. So this one would have been different from the Scripps Howard tournament series which started in 1923? yes, okay.

So, this contest is the one which ran from 1937 to 1952? (much later edit: I question whether Berry Pink had "Marble King" tournaments for all those years. Where did we learn about those dates?)

Wonder what the top prize was.

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any body can name a national champion if they got the money for a trophy and maybe a bike for the winner....its all advertizing.......berry pink was the greatest ambassador for marbles...he named himself the marble king...the trophy figure crown looks like the kid on the cloth marble king bags.....not packed by marble king inc but by berry pink enterprize i think....i dont really know when the name change occured .......but in the 40s berry pink was prob promoting these tournaments.......why?........ too sell marbles....its a nice artifact....the one from n,j is probab the holy grail/......

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The New York Times gives a figure of "more than 150" instead of 300 for the number of competitors at the national tournament in New York in 1940. But maybe some were unable to make the trip? One other discrepancy is that whoever gave the June 24-20 dates in the Tacoma Times description seems to have confused this tourney with the Scripps Howard tourney in New Jersey.

The Berry Pink tourney was a week earlier, at the World's Fair.

The winner Douglas Opperman of Pittsburgh received maybe $200 or $300 (accounts vary). This allowed the family to purchase their first car.

He donated his crown to the Western Pennsylvania Sports Museum at the Heinz History Center.

Which doesn't tell Don when his trophy was awarded or how many there were. I thnk I'm done anyway. LOL


(From NYT -- click to enlarge)

Click here for bigger image: http://i119.photobucket.com/albums/o151/modularforms/History/MarbleKing_June1940_40percent.jpg

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I thnk I'm done anyway. LOL

I knew better than that. :D Here's a bit more, from an Oswego, NY paper. Some nice details about Berry Pink and the tournament in general. The final prize appears to have been $250.

Click the links below the headlines for more of the articles. Might need to double click for full size. The 2nd one ends early, but I think most of it is there.

1940_April_11_Oswego_NY_headline.jpg . . . . .. 1940_June_14_Oswego_NY_headline.jpg



Papers archived here: http://fultonhistory.com/Fulton.html

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Hello All~~I hope my reply gets to post, I have been having bad luck getting it online. I am quite new to posting of any kind, so it is all learning. It looks like my trophy is a bit less exotic than I might have thought, I am very impressed by the Tacoma trophy. It might be mine pre-dates it, and they developed into fancier ones as the years went by. Or, I thought maybe mine is later, perhaps wartime, when they had to cut back on materials due to the war effort, and made the trophy's a little less complicated. Mine certainly can't be higher in rank than a city trophy it would appear, perhaps it is only a school trophy, although it seems like that would run into a LOT of trophy's. Perhaps someone with access to old Marble King records could really determine how many were given out each year, and at what level. Whatever, I appreciate all the kind words and information that have already been posted. If I learn more on my own, I will try to post it. This is fun! I am glad I could add something not often seen to the discussion, so we can analyze it, and get other folks to dig up info to share. Good hunting to you all.

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i dont think marble king had anything to do with the trophy...berry pink called himself the marble king and promoted these tourneys ....it might be better than you think....not a marble king inc artifact.....like i said in my previous post...i dont know when they started usin the name at st marys but berry pink owned the name in the 40s.....

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  • 4 weeks later...

Here are some more details. Some are strange -- 12,000 trophies in 1940 ?? Some could be useful.

The reference to when Pink supervised the trophy design suggests that 1939 might have been the earliest possible date on your trophy, Don. I do know better than to jump to conclusions about Berry Pink though.

I still have a couple of leads to follow ...

Whatever the facts, they might become easier to find out someday "soon". I heard something today which made a lot of sense. 1920's era tournament items used to seem more rare than they do now. It might take a few ... or 20 ... more years, but as the people who won the 1940s competitions pass on, more tournament items and information should come to light.

So, here's the "new" material. A flyer giving a history of Pink's past tournament involvement and tying it all to 1941 sales.

(click links below the thumbnails to enlarge, might need to double click for full size)



p. 1: http://i119.photobuc...nkInc160pct.jpg

p. 2: http://i119.photobuc...nkInc260pct.jpg

p. 3: http://i119.photobuc...nkInc360pct.jpg

p. 4: http://i119.photobuc...nkInc460pct.jpg

Large print version of the page 3 (684 kb)

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  • 2 years later...

Update while I'm thinking about trophies:

Since Dinkybus posted this in 2008 I did a lot of reading in old papers. It's been awhile and a couple of computer reformats since the last time I played around with the articles so my memory is getting fuzzy, but 1943 is the last date I can remember finding a reference to a tournament which sounded like it might be sponsored by the Marble King. There were a lot of references for 1940, a few for 1941, one which if I remember correctly said Pink wasn't going to do tourneys in 1942 because of his Naval Reserve service, and this one from 1943.

I remember seeing several different trophy heights but don't remember a 14-incher mentioned anywhere. Heights weren't always stated in the newspapers.


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  • 3 months later...

I just read your topic on the Berry King Trophy and found it very interesting. Over the years, I've acquires several items; medals, one trophy at 15 3/4 inch, and a trophy plate from one of the trophies. I'll try to attach jpgs of the trophy and trophy plate for your reference. Hopes these add to the collection of the trophies. Regards, Wayne


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