- Indianapolis 500 Pit Badges -

The "Big 5" 1938 - 1946


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From 1938 through 1941 and 1946, it is believed there were 500 or less pit bagdes made from each year and there is just one badge ie. there was not a Bronze or Silver badge as we see today. Known as the "Big 5", the 1938 through 1946 badges are extremely hard to find and expensive. All badges from 1938-41 and 1946 have a "safety pin" to attach to ones clothing verses a clasp and pin which was used after 1946.

The 1938 badge, made by the St. Louis Button Co., depcits the Pagoda at center and is silver in color with red numbers. It measures about 1 1/4" x 1 1/4" in size.

The 1939 badge has a flattened penny appearance and is brass in color with blue numbers measuring nearly 2" x 1". Due to the poor strike on the back of the few 1939 badges seen, it was not discovered until recently that the St. Louis Button Co. did make the badge. As seen in the two examples below, they are poorly sturck and very hard to read.

Made by the G.J. Mayer Co. of Indianapolis, the 1940 badge sort of has a "fluffy cloud" appearance and is brass in color with dark highlights and red numbers measuring 1 2/3" x 1 3/5". Note that the company name is upside down.

The 1941 badge is again made by the G.J. Mayer Co. and is a bright silver in color with reddish orange colors for the numbers. The badge is curved and measures 2" x 1".

The 1946 badge is brass in color with blue numbers. Like the 1941 badge, the 1946 is also curved and measures a little over 2" x 1". There are no makers name or marks present on the back.


1947-1949 1950-1959 1960-1969 1970-1979
1980-1989 1990-Present Back Up Cards Reproduction Pit Badges


* This information is to the best of our knowledge. If anyone has more information, please contact: NI500CC@NI500CC.COM or dar500@indy.rr.com