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Phillumeny: How to Get Started Collecting Match Books

Updated on May 16, 2016
Photos on this article are my own unless otherwise credited. Article copyright Lorelei Cohen 06/24/2014.
Photos on this article are my own unless otherwise credited. Article copyright Lorelei Cohen 06/24/2014.

How to Start a Matchbook Collection

If you are considering becoming a member of a very elite group of individuals known as Phillumenists then you will become one of many others who are fascinated by collecting matchbook covers, boxes, holders, folders, or strikers.

You are a collector of match products.There is a lot of history lying about in those old covers and containeres.

Match boxes were a means of advertising and promoting businesses, communities, events, people, ideas, and ideals.The cover topics discuss serious issues as well as comical ones and boldly display a lot of history on their weathered covers. It is a unique hobby that is quite easy to enter into.


Vintage match box covers.
Vintage match box covers. | Source

Which area of are you going to specialize in?

The first step in becoming a Phillumenist is deciding what type of matchbook item you are going to collect.

Lets face it, there are about gazillion match items out there so you are going to have to narrow that field down just a smidge to choose one or two areas to focus in. Matchbook covers, boxes, holders, folders, or strikers are specific areas you might choose to collect in.

You could decide which type you are going collect simply by seeing which item you find most interesting or the one which you can most easily acquire. Your collection could also begin simply because you accidentally stumbled upon a rare find early in your collecting years.

Vintage match box collectibles.
Vintage match box collectibles. | Source

Finding items to collect is usually quite easy.

Most people have a number of old matchbooks lying in drawers, boxes, camping or fishing kits, or the glove box of their vehicle. Everyone has them somewhere in their home and many of these have been there since you were a kid.

Often time match boxes are an item that you already collectible but just don't realize it. You just have to discover where they are and then gather them together to be categorized. Ask friends, family, and relatives to dig through their desks and drawers to see what they can come up with for you.

Put an add in a local paper asking others to dig up old match covers that they can pass along to you. If you are part of a community club or group ask the members if they would contribute to your collection and you just may be surprised by the interesting collection of match boxes that you can quickly acquire.

If you are haunting out garage sales explain to the homeowner that you collect matchbook covers and are searching for them. Many people will happily go into the house to see if they can come up with a few for you to add to your collection.

Simply by asking others what they might have you may be pleasantly surprised by the interesting finds you come up with to add into your collection.

How to display a match cover Phillumeny collection.

Vintage match covers
Vintage match covers | Source

The next step is to discover the value of your collectibles and to find other collectors.

Once you have a few reasonable finds acquired then your next move will be to join a match collecting club or group.

This gives you an opportunity to purchase or trade finds with other members of the group. It also gives you the opportunity to pick up valuable tips from those with more experience.

Let's face facts, collecting is always more fun when you get to discuss it with others who are just as passionate about your hobby as you are. You can advertise in your local paper for other collectors within your area or go online to search out an online group to join.

Vintage match cover.
Vintage match cover. | Source

Acquiring new items and selling or trading old ones is all part of collecting.

Of course online action sites such as eBay are always an area where collectors should be looking for items that they want to collect or sell and matchbook cover collections are no exception to this rule.

The Internet offers collectors an absolutely indispensable tool for seeking out their hobby. Use it to your advantage.

Remember when seeking out your desired collectible to also search under categories similar to what you are searching for. Smoking, tobacciana, lighters, fire starters, and match strikers.

Most importantly remember to have fun with your collection because that is what collecting is really all about. It is the enjoyment that you receive from your hobby that make it worthwhile.

What type of objects do you collect?

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    • SusanDeppner profile image

      Susan Deppner 12 months ago from Arkansas USA

      Can't remember the last time I even saw a match book! At one time I did have a bit of a collection. Not sure what I ever did with those, actually. Lots of history, though, in a good match book collection, I'm sure.

    • ladyguitarpicker profile image

      stella vadakin 13 months ago from 3460NW 50 St Bell, Fl32619

      I remember when businesses gave us free matches. There is no one giving out free matches anymore. Great hub, very enjoyable.

    • BarbRad profile image

      Barbara Radisavljevic 19 months ago from Templeton, CA

      I'm not a collector, but I do have a lot of match books around.

    • MelRootsNWrites profile image

      Melody Lassalle 2 years ago from California

      This was really interesting. I had never even heard of phillumeny before reading this article. Matchbooks can really tell a story, can't they?

    • Valerie Bloom profile image

      Valerie Bloom 2 years ago from Pennsylvania, USA

      I knew that some folks collected matchbooks, but I had no idea about the sub-collections in this arena! Thanks for the excellent read!

    • JoleneBelmain profile image

      JoleneBelmain 3 years ago

      So it just so happens that I have a bit of a match book collection. It started out when I was a teenager, collecting match books from restaurants, then I would start collecting them from other places. I don't have near the collection that most would have, but I have quite a variety :)

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