Unique 1936 matchbox from Spain

Exhibitor : José Ventura García

Click here for Spanish language version


Some CAF boxes
Some CAF boxes

Between 1930 and 1936 the Spanish match company Compañía Arrendataria de Fósforos (C. A .F) issued 12 beautiful series of matchboxes which used high-quality colour photos showing various national themes : Film Stars, National Costumes, Boats and Admirals of the Spanish Armada, Towns of Spain etc. There were 35 numbered items in each Series. The boxes were made of card and used the famous ‘cajas de gomitas’ style where the lid was held shut by a rubber band.

A unique matchbox
A unique matchbox

All these Series are well documented, but in my collection I have a box which does not appear in those lists and therefore cannot be explained. This is the box shown on the left.

Why is it unique ? Because this box shows different photos to the normal series :

  • nº 1 of the normal Series 3 is the actor George Bancroft and nº 6 of Series 5 is Admiral D. Francisco Javier Winthuyse
  • on this unique box nº 1 of Series 3 is the actress Norma Shearer and nº 6 of Series 5 is a scene from the movie “Fiel a la Marina” with actress Clara Bow.
A normal box and the unique box
A normal box and the unique box

On the right is a normal box and the unique box showing nº 6 of Series 5. The ‘banderole’ is a Tax Stamp which was by the Exchequer to raise additional funds for the Government

Why was this box made with ‘incorrect’ photos ? Do any other examples exist ? We will probably never know why the box was made, or where, but I do know that there is another box with exactly the same photos on it in the Museu Marès in Barcelona, which is the only other example I have ever seen. Perhaps it was made as a trial, a printer’s test ?

Each of these CAF boxes used photos from two different Series, for example Series 7 and Series 8. They contained 40 wax matches which were contained in a compartment in the tray, and the rubber band held the top closed so that the matches did not fall out. Most of the boxes sold for 10 cts, but later ones sold for 20 cts. The boxes used three labels :

  1. a single label on the lid, with a photo
  2. inside the lid was an advertising label, which can be found in three different versions
  3. an artb on the base, a photo and two side panels

The gallery below shows some more images of CAF boxes from these Series, click on an image to enlarge it.

Click here to return to the Exhibition Catalogue.

© Copyright BML&BS 1945 - 2024

Powered by Everything WordPress theme