Phillumeny - My match box collection

Published on 11 January 2023 at 15:15
part of my phillumeny collection of match books and match boxes
A 1960's butlin's matchbook and plastic cover phillumeny collectable

Not a lot of people know this but phillumeny is the collecting of match related items. It used to be quite popular when everybody and their Uncle used to smoke and disposable lighters weren't really a thing. Pretty much every single business would have their own matchboxes, countless millions were made. I started collecting in about 1972, when I was a mere 8 years old, I still have one of my very first ones - it was a match book for a newsagents called Bunces.


I think the next one I got was a shop called Rochester Stores - a small independent corner shop in Fleet, Hampshire - the town where I was born. The collection really took off when I started travelling on business - just the UK at first but then all over the world. I worked in the telecommunication industry and everywhere I went people got to know about my collection and would gather them for me for my next visit. It was nit unheard of for me to buy matches when I didn't need them just to add to my collection. I started to put them up in my man cave so I could view them, most of them have spent many years in boxes awaiting my attention. I have a few thousand on display now and think I have maybe around 15,000 in total. It's an illness, really. I don't suppose an of them have any value to them, although I do have a 1960's Butlins one in it's original plastic cover, I suspect a Butlins collector may pay good money for that one. I think my favourite genre is the Camel cigarettes advertising matchboxes featuring Joe the Camel - I have well over 100 different ones and a large display one that I found at a car boot sale a few years back - one of my favourite pieces and I suspect quite, rare. I am also quite fond of my Scandinavian collection, they have a unique sort of look and feel about them - less colourful than UK ones but with quite a character all of their own. I worked for a Swedish company at one point, which helped that side of the collection enormously. 

A collection of scandinavian match box labels
A collection of camel cigarettes advertising match books
a large novelty matchbook for camel cigarettes
inside the jumbonovelty camel cigarettes matchbook

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