Collecting Firecracker Labels





There are over a 1,000 firecracker makers . Firecracker labels can bring back fond childhood memories, and their exoticness and use of garish colors make them hard to forget. Some of the rarer firecracker labels now sell for hundred and even thousand of dollars . Most people start with a collecting theme : animals, maidens, space, war, etc . Most labels produced after the early 70s are not worth more than a few dollars, it is the rarity and art of the older labels that make them valuable . Some places to find firecracker labels are eBay, the labelman, fireworksland  firecracker label reproductions.

Crackerpacks guide to collecting firecracker labels .

Denver sale is a real firecracker  July 12, 2012


Classes of  Firecracker labels


A firework stand in the 1940s


Class 1 ( Before 1950 )

Some of these bare the label Made in China, but due to civil war and the Japanese invasion many fircecracker makers were moving to the Portuguese colony of Macau .



Class 2 ( 1950 - 54  )

Most Chinese firecracker makers had moved to Macau after the Communists took over China .



Class 3 ( 1955 - 68  )

These labels usually have a label with "ICC Class C"  ( Interstate Commerce Commission )printed on them .



Class 4 ( 1969 - 72 )

These labels usually carry the warning "Caution Explosive" and "Lay on ground, light fuse, get away " and "Use under adult Supervision"



Class 5 ( 1973 - 76  )

Grading of explosive switched from the ICC to the Dept of Transportation, and these labels usually have "DOT Class C Common Fireworks" on them . With Nixon opening China, labels now have "Made in China" printed on them . After 1972  firecrackers stopped being made by hand with crimped ends, this process being done with clay to make them cheaper .



A witch whistle firecracker box



A video showing what class 5 firecrackers look like . a 42 year old mint condition class 5 early Dot "Hot Giraffe" firecracker Brick. That I just got for my collection.These are a very rare brand especially with the "Giraffe" logo's which old crackers were known to have which makes them all the more collectable.Besides being the last of the crimped ends firecrackers to be made in macau with no clay plugs or fillers. And these have a full 2 grains of composition unlike today's reduction in composition since 77 down to 50mg



A Beutifull new Brick of "Mighty Mite Firecrackers DOT from 1972.


Class 6 ( 1977 - 1994 )

These labels are the same as Class 5, but due to a government mandate reducing the flash powder have "Contains less than 50 MG flash powder " printed on the label .



Class 7 (1995 - Present )

These have "UN 0336 1.4G Consumer Fireworks." the UN stands for United Nations .




Video of firework label convention in St. Louis


Some Rare Firecracker Labels


Crax Boy, Class 1 circa 1940 recently sold for $2,500


Mercury Brand Class 1, recently sold for $1,900

Goo Boy Class 1, recently sold for $2,000




Mermaid Class 1


Ibex Class 1


Round One Class 1 circa 1949


Elephant Chang Grand Class 1


Red Child  Class 1


Why are some firecrackers called 'Flashlight' firecrackers ?


Hitt firecracker company was one of the first to add flash powder to

firecrackers, making them explode more brightly and loudly


A website showing different ways to display firework labels




Some Animal Firecracker Labels





Some exampes of Space Age Lables






Maiden Lables





More Firecracker Labels








The History of Firecraker Making

Firecracker postcard from 1912


Firecrackers or bangers were first used by the Chinese to drive away evil spirts during celebrations, such as those for the New year , weddings and festivals . For thousands of years, bamboo was thrown into fires, with the trapped pockets of air exploding with a great noise . When it was discovered in China that paper and gunpowder make a more dramtic bang, these materials were used. The earliest documentation of fireworks dates back to 7th century China, where they were invented, probably by a Daoist alchemist. However, the word for firecracker still harks back to the use of bamboo in the Chinese word for firecracker, 'burst bamboo' (爆竹 bao zhu) With the development of contact between China and Europe, Chinese fireworks began to gain popularity around the mid-17th century.



History of the firework industry in Macau . The first firework factories were opened in Macau in the 1800s, now almost all production is in mainland China .



How firecrackers are made in China



These are older firecrackers. Some people collect these older firecrackers because they enjoy the colorful labels. There are a few great books on the market that explain the history on these.


An American firework factory in 1902 . American firework companies could not compete with Chinese imports due to the cheaper labor cost in China . American firework factories did survive, which relies more on innovation and technology .




 Find Firecracker labels on eBay


Firecracker Label guidebook

 Firecrackers : The Art and History explores the art form in detail, linking it to history and exploring its relevance in the various cultures that ceremonialize this peculiar bang. Includes reproductions of over 100 full-color labels, as well as tips on finding and saving firecracker art.


 Red Firecracker

Green Firecracker

movie takes place in a firecracker factory in prerevolutionary China


 Firecracker label tshirts


 Gaston's Guide to Chinese Firecracker Labels










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