Back in the 50s back when smoking was in fashion, matchbooks could be found everywhere, and collecting them needed no introductions. They were the perfect advertising technique that was cheap, easy and extremely useful. In the front of any bar, restaurant or hotel, you could easily find a discrete little bowl piled high with mementos of your time spent in the establishment.
But in the 90s, when smoking became a taboo health concern, matchbooks started slowly disappearing from their normal nooks and crannies. They started to become a rarity, replaced with simple business cards, mints or candy. Recently, however, there has been a resurgence of matchbooks as they have begun to regain their popularity as a “retro” advertising item.
People collect matchbooks for all sorts of reasons, the most common being sentimental value. They are a great way to keep a nice souvenir from all of your travels. It’s a hobby many people unknowingly participate in, and I’m sure if you looked at the bottom of your suitcase you’d find a handful of matchbooks to start your very own collection. The technical term for a matchbook collecting enthusiast is a phillumenist.
Having a matchbook or two around is additonally handy for lighting candles, starting stoves and a ton of other useful resources. Anyone who’s been in the scouts, boys or girls, can tell you that it’s a great way to always be prepared.
There is the avid collector who would want to show off the details of his or her prized collection. You can find many wall mounted matchbook display cases that contain rows of wood bars onto which you can wrap your matchbooks. It’s as if you have a framed masterpiece of your life hanging on the wall.
And then there is the amateur collector, someone who enjoys the aesthetics of having a large bowl or vase into which they could pile their mountains of matchbooks to create a jumbled collage of their memories.
Finally, there is the token prized possession collector, someone for whom certain matchbooks contain a whole plethora of memories. For them, there are a variety of individual matchbook holders which would work wonders at commemorating and preserving these delicate relics of times past.