From error to deception

Exhibitor : Jesús María Bollo García

Click here for Spanish language version

In any work activity, at any time, an ERROR can occur, but once detected it is corrected and everything returns to normal.

Let’s look at some examples of well-known errors on Spanish match boxes:

  • Inserts (Fototipias), Series 1 from 1896, Numbers 13, 26, 39, 51, 63 and 75 : mirror image
  • Inserts (Fototipias), Series A from 1909, Number 64 : changed name                                  

Moroder Brothers Factory in Valencia 1870-1890, errors in the Series “La Peste de Otranto”, “La Mascota” and “Las Hijas de Eva” : missing number and/or mirror image.

Fosforera Española, Football Club Shields 1957, number 3 Atlético de Bilbao : changed image

Fosforera Española:

  • Dogs series 1964 : changed name
  • Don Quijote series 1965 : changed wording
  • Trains series 1968 : changed wording

But another very different case is the one that occurred repeatedly in the series of Artists that the Gremio de Fabricantes issued in the late 19th century. (The Gremio was formed through a law passed on 30th June 1892 taking the match industry into government control). A consequence of this move was that each factory in the Gremio was assigned a number of boxes to produce but without worrying excessively about the precision of the images printed on the labels, as we can see here:

Some of these artists became very famous and the Gremio wanted to keep offering boxes with their image on. However, the artists were too busy to come and pose for new photos, so the printers had to re-use the old negatives. But of course, when making new images from the same negatives it is almost impossible to use exactly the same focal length as the first time, which explains why there are many similar-but-different labels of the same artist.

In this case the variation was in width not height of the image, where we can see the gradually disappearing monument located on the right side. It was always the same reason : the lack of planning, processing and supply by the printers to the different factories.

In the labels above the artist’s left hand gradually disappears until it does so completely. Same cause, same result.

The main problem that the printers had was how to produce a large quantity of labels for the many match factories throughout Spain. Therefore, either due to a lack of photographs or because they didn’t want to pay for new ones, many printers decided that the quickest, cheapest and easiest solution was to change the name of the Artist on the label.

The DECEPTION is now clear to the collector. Given the time period (1982-1910) and the huge number of Artists in the series of labels it was difficult to study every single detail. Nobody knows how many times the same Artist’s name was changed, modified or altered.

These Gremio labels show some of the many variations of Artist name, printer name, upper and lower case, colour, skin, dress, hat and flowers.

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