When I started collecting
Exhibitor : Flemming Henningsen
I started collecting matchbox labels as a boy in the mid-1960s. At that time there was only one match factory remaining in Denmark, H. E Gosch in Copenhagen. It was some nice boxes imported from Finland that caught my interest.
A contributing reason why I chose matchbox labels over e.g. stamps or coins was that it was a much cheaper hobby, but definitely just as interesting. One of the sets showed Native Americans, which was available in both Danish and Finnish.
When I started collecting the matchboxes were wooden boxes with a label glued on them. At that time we only collected the label. From the end of the 1960s the match factories started to produce card boxes instead of wooden ones, and the labels were printed direct on the cardboard.
Therefore, we started to open the boxes where they are glued together and mounted them as skillets in our albums.
Through the years my collection grew with family and friends giving me matchboxes that they collected for me on holidays or otherwise.
I also became a member of clubs for phillumenists and got pen pals around the world.
Today my collection has gradually grown to more than 161,000 different labels, skillets and boxes from 178 different countries, among them also former countries and areas with autonomy.
The history of the Danish match industry was written up in Society Newsletters between October 1967 and October 1968. The H. E. Gosch factory was closed in 1972 after it had been taken over by Swedish Match.
In addition to the Danish match factory, others had specialized in making advertising labels for private companies. Here in Denmark the company Knud Jensen in Hjallesen near Odense was the leader. It was started in the mid-1950s and ceased sometime in the 1980s when the market for advertising labels on matchboxes collapsed.
Here are some of the imported matchbox labels from Finland that caught my interest back in the 1960s. Click on an image to enlarge it.
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