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NOVA-Antiques is the Mid Atlantic website for all things antique and collectible. Our website features antique & collectibles dealers, shops & malls; Flea Market Directory & Reviews; Monthly Antiques Show Calendar; Estate & Tag Sales Page; and our NOVA-Antiques Newsletter, which contains news, articles and information about the antiques & collectibles market. NOVA-Antiques Blog is an extension of our Newsletters.

Friday, July 25, 2008

Phillumeny – Collecting Matchbooks & Matchboxes

In 1826 a major invention in the field of fire was made by a little known pharmacist in the town of Stockton-on-Tees, England. This was the birth of the friction match as we know it today. As more and more people started using this wonderful invention to light fires, pipes, cigars, cigarettes and candles, more and more manufacturers proliferated and started producing matches; each company and or manufacturer putting their matches in colorful containers, matchbooks and match boxes.

People that collect matchboxes, matchbooks and matchbox labels are called Phillumenists and their hobby is referred to as Phillumeny, a word which was first coined in 1943 by British collector Marjorie S. Evans. Many people in different areas of the world collect all manner of covers and matchboxes, but most stick to what they know best and that is generally what was common for their particular area of the world. An example being matchbook covers which are more collectible here in the U.S. than in say Europe or the Middle East.

In the 1830’s match safes were invented for the sole purpose of keeping matches safe from moisture and to have a handy friction surface where the match could be struck. They were very popular during the Victorian Era and were made of many different materials and many were intricately designed and ornately decorated. Some are so beautiful they are nothing less than a priceless piece of art. The pictured match safe in the shape of a grass hut, measures 1.5” x 2.5” and was recently sold on eBay for $585.

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