06 November 2008

Charm Beauty

My interest in vintage matchbooks dates to 1999/2000. A good friend's boyfriend of the time, Joel, was a passionate and knowledgeable matchbook collector and introduced me to Phillumeny, or matchbook collecting. Joel referred to it simply as "The Hobby."

Joel and his dad had a match cover collection that they estimated was in the tens of thousands. They would take road trips to go to match collector conventions and were always on the lookout for matchbooks to trade or sell in the pursuit of a prized specimen to fill a hole in their vast collection.

I had been gathering some ephemera (paperdolls and hair product packaging) to use on little decoupage box projects. I was excited to find the world of matchbooks -- a new source for old images at a reasonable price.

My first buy was from ebay -- a collection of about 100 beauty and barbershop matchbooks. Even though I had ventured into the ebay buying world before, Joel was experienced in the details of matchbook auctions on ebay. He was my able adviser, helping me determine the collection's value and how low I could bid and still win (the answer - $15).

I love this little collection. The clip art didn't work as well for my decoupage, but I did end up using many of the images for little fridge magnets that I gave as gifts that year.

My second matchbook group came from Joel as a loaner, which I interpreted as "keep as long as you need." Joel specialized in sports matchbooks, and the ones he lent me were all duplicates and less valuable.

I love these match covers -- the "action shots" are so disarmingly graceful, the old school uniforms and two-color printing. And, while I do cherish these little beauties, I am prepared to state, for the record, that I will release them to their rightful owner (if he ever asks).

I'm starting to scan some of my favorite matchbooks in the large -- full matchbook format -- and uploading to a Flickr matchbook set.

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