New book : Advertising Matches from Singapore

A new book has just been published called Striking! Advertising Matches from Singapore which can be purchased here.

With its rectangular and pocket-friendly form, matchboxes plastered with advertisements once offered an affordable and portable means of marketing for restaurants, hotels and other businesses. This collection of over 350 covers from Singapore—each reproduced true to size—captures the city-state’s colourful modernisation during the 1970s to 1990s. An accompanying essay on the history of matchbox production in Singapore along with seven curated themes reveals the many meanings and cultures emblazoned on each design.

A full review will be published in our August magazine.

Vladimír Steiner (Czech Republic)

Exhibit : Scheinhost cylindrical boxes

I am 74 years old and I collect matchbox labels from my youth. I started collecting labels issued for the Czechoslovak domestic market and later I continued with the Czechoslovak labels for export.

In the last 50 years I have been collecting all labels from the former Austro-Hungarian empire.

This hobby brings me great pleasure and I make friends with many collectors in my country as well as abroad. I am member of the British Matchbox Label and Bookmatch Society.

Click here to return to the Exhibition Catalogue.

Pat Stevens (UK)

Exhibit : Blue Cross brand, made in England

I am fortunate in that I cannot remember not being a collector of matchboxes and their labels.  The fascination was probably started by having a pipe smoking father who consumed more matches than tobacco.  I do remember being very regularly scolded by my mother for picking up used boxes in the street.  For many years the collection was modest and it was when I was in my 20’s I discovered the British Matchbox Label and Booklet Society, met other collectors, realised the breadth of the hobby and learned to avoid the 2 classic tools of many uninformed collectors – scissors and the glue pot. 

My particular interests have changed and developed over the 50 plus years of collecting with the prime focus now on boxes and labels from Norway and Sweden.  Along the collecting route many smaller topics such as labels imported into the UK marked Foreign Made, Bryant and May promotional skillet boxes with a/c 23 and 26, match related ephemera, books about the hobby and match making along with many other aspects of the hobby have particularly taken my attention.

I have gained great value from meeting with other collectors and learnt through sharing knowledge and seeing what and how others collect and present their collections.

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Mike Pryor (UK)

Exhibit : Two Cornish Pennies

I started collecting matchboxes and labels in 1966. My aunt and uncle owned a tobacconist shop in Cornwall and I ‘worked’ there for them marking and delivering newspapers. This is where I first saw the Old Cornish Mine series of labels which fascinated me, and started a life-long interest in phillumeny.

Specialism – Spain

Since meeting the legendary collector and founder of the Cornish Match Company in 1971, David van der Plank, I have had a deep interest in Spanish Matchboxes and the history of the Spanish Match industry which began in 1836.

Gremio box, ca. 1895
Gremio box, ca. 1895

My collection contains Spanish examples from the 19th, 20th and 21st centuries, and although the majority of these are labels I do have a good number of beautiful complete boxes.

Like most collectors I also have many examples from other countries, and prefer complete boxes wherever possible. I also always enjoy exchanging information with other collectors and learning new things about our wonderful hobby of phillumeny.

 

Publications and Web sites

I write regular articles for the Match Label News, which is the journal of the British Matchbox Label and Bookmatch Society.

I have also developed two web sites which focus on specific aspects of my collection :

  • Gross packet label, a few Spanish Inserts
    Gross packet label, a few Spanish Inserts

    The Old Cornish Mine web site describes the history of the series which first got me interested in collecting, and shows illustrations of all the labels known to have been issued www.old-Cornish-mines.co.uk

  • Spanish Matchbox Inserts (Fototipias) web site is dedicated to the history and beauty of the Insert cards which were issued in Spanish matchboxes between 1897 and 1910 www.inserts.org.uk

Click here to return to the Exhibition Catalogue.

Joel Viana de Lemos (Portugal)

Exhibit : Surcharges on Portuguese Matchboxes

I was born in 1955 and started collecting matchbox labels and matchbooks when I was about 4 years old. Knowing about my interest in the hobby some of the phillumenists in the city of Porto encouraged me with some interesting offers. The publication in 1962 of the first catalogue of matchbox labels in Portugal allowed me to properly organize my collection. The 2nd edition of the catalogue published in 1965 and the monthly edition of the magazine “Filumenismo” gave a great boost to my development as a phillumenist. 

I went on to specialise in all the material related to Portugal or that circulated in the Portuguese market and its colonies, namely Macau. My collection of Italian matchboxes/panels that circulated in Portugal in the 19th Century is very significant and formed the basis of my Exhibit in 2021.

I am a founding partner of the APF – “Associação Portuguesa de Filumenismo” (founded in 1972), and currently its President.

I have published the following phillumenistic works, which can be purchased from APF :

  • Catalogue of Portuguese Matchbox Labels. Edition 1992 (co-author, text in Portuguese):
  • Catalogue of Matchbox Labels – Companhia Portugueza de Phosphoros – Series – 1895-1926. 1st edition 2003; 2nd edition 2008; 3rd edition 2020
  • Catalogue of Matchbox Labels – Portugal – XIX century. 1st edition 2011; 2nd edition 2014; under publication 3rd edition
  • Catalogue of Italian Matchboxes imported by Portugal – XIX century. 1st edition 2013; under publication 2nd edition
  • Addendum to the Catalogue of Matchbox Labels – Macau – 2016 edition (co-author, text in Portuguese)
  • Advertising Skillets and Bookmatches List – Macau – 2016 (co-author) (texts in Portuguese)

I also have some phillumenistic works in development :

  • Catalogue of Matchboxes – XIX century – Portuguese factories manufacture and Italian matchboxes imported by Portugal
  • Phillumeny records – Matchbox labels produced abroad to Portuguese speaking territories
  • Phillumeny records – Postcards in Phillumeny
  • Phillumeny records – Portuguese Phillumeny Exhibitions
  • Portuguese matchbox holders (grips and slides) records

Click here to return to the Exhibition Catalogue.

Jerry Bell (Australia)

Exhibit : Hinemoa and Tutaneki – a Maori love story

I started collecting matchcovers in England in 1948, with the purchase, for the princely sum of 15 shillings, of a collection made in India pre-1914, mainly of Swedish and Austrian labels. I was attracted by the outstanding artwork of many of the labels, and I still have all these labels in my collection, plus over 100,000 more.

I am fortunate that my work took me all over the world, and I now live in Melbourne, Australia.

"Average Contents 60" published in 2005
“Average Contents 60” published in 2005

I have been a member of the BML&BS for almost 70 years, and the Australian Society for over 40. I have published the history of the Australian match industry, “Lighting Up Australia,” and two catalogues of former imports into Australia.

My book “Average Contents 60” is available from the Society Bookshop.

I also edited the Australian club magazine, the Observer, for 10 years, and am a frequent contributor to this and the British Match Label News.

 

Click here to return to the Exhibition Catalogue.

Gísli Jóhann Sigurðsson (Iceland)

Exhibit : Three Stars in the Icelandic night sky

Land of ice and fire – how I started collecting matchbox labels

When I started collecting matchboxes in 1962 or 1963 (10 – 11 years old) it was very common for boys in Siglufjörður to do so. Siglufjörður is a small town in northern Iceland that is surrounded by high mountains and in those years was only open to cars due to snow for about 4 months of the year. Other transport was by sea twice a week.

During the summer, a lot of life moved into the town because ships came there from Europe for the herring as well as other people from other parts of Iceland to work with the herring. The harbours were not fenced off and closed as they are today and we went on board every single ship that came to get matchboxes in exchange. I usually went with a few packets and offered an exchange, but usually opened the packages and exchanged 1 for 1 box.

Most of the boys kept their collection in boxes from biscuits or shoeboxes, and for me it was 2 or 3 drawers in a chest of drawers. The biscuit boxes and shoe boxes then often end up in the attic. When I got a little collection started my father saw that I was very interested in this. He was a fisherman on herring boats and trawlers, he started collecting with me and was soon in touch with a Danish woman who was a collector, he read an article she had written in a Danish book called Hvem Hvad Hvor. From her he obtained information about the BML & BS which we joined. When I was 19 years old, I moved to Reykjavík and set aside the collection for many years.

From time to time I flipped through the album collection when I came to visit my family home.  About 20 years ago my father called me and said that now I had to come and take the collection, because he was starting to lose so much sight that he could not continue anymore. He wanted me to have the collection and take care of it but he was going to view the collection from time to time in a similar way as I had done. So I drove north with a trailer on the back of our car and picked it up. The collection is now 155 books of labels.

Click here to return to the Exhibition Catalogue.

Derek Judd (UK)

Exhibit : Matchorama Aristocrat, by Universal Match

My collecting of bookmatches started, possibly, like other collectors did by collecting bookmatches that were free in various businesses.  These were often found on the edges of ashtrays on bars, hotel reception desks and the like.  I collected this way for many years until I read an article in the press that a meeting of phillumenists was being held in Croydon, Surrey.  This was in 1995.

I attended the meeting and was amazed at the vast array and quantity of bookmatches, labels, skillets and ARTB’s.  It was from this meeting that I decided to specialise in collecting only Bryant & May from the various factories/countries.  I also made the decision to only collect complete, unstruck bookmatches. 

I have been a member of the Society since then and President of the BML&BS since 2011.

Click here to return to the Exhibition Catalogue.

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