Sued51's Blog

{July 7, 2011}   Matchbooks: Gone the Way of the Dodo Bird

I have always enjoyed collections that tell an observer something about the collector’s life.  Examples from my mother’s day include collections of spoons or glasses with state names; I have collected Christmas ornaments from places I’ve visited and have a bowl of matchbooks from restaurants or events I attended.

It is ironic that I picked up the matchbook collecting habit, considering that I am not a smoker, and to be honest, I’m one of those clumsy people who is a bit afraid of lighting matches.  However, I saw someone else’s collection displayed in a coffee table bowl and loved the colors and designs.  And best of all for me, they didn’t cost anything!

With the advent of laws against smoking in restaurants, disposable lighters, and fewer people with the habit, my matchbook collecting days have reached their end.  I still look whenever I go to a new restaurant, but without much luck.  One time I thought I had scored one only to open the “matchbook” and discover toothpicks.

The other day when my mother was sorting through things at her house she came across a matchbook from one of my friends’ weddings.  She gave it to me for my collection.  As I put it in the bowl I sifted through and found my own from the same wedding as well as several others.  I love wedding matches —  usually a white background with the couple’s first names and wedding date in their “wedding” color.  I took a quick trip down memory lane, feeling a little sadness as some of the couples have since separated or divorced; their marriages like the matches, now a remnant of the past.

It occurred to me that the wedding matchbook tradition will completely fade away in the 21st century as a result of the no smoking laws, thus making it a “dated” collectible, like so many others, although not worth a thing to anyone but the person who collected them.  I supposed someday I will just toss them out.  For me, it’s time to come up with a new item to collect.


Fanny says:

Ed’s best friend from childhood (Rick) and his wife stopped by our house last night. They were visiting friends and relatives from New Hampshire. We had the same conversation with them about matchbooks as you discuss in your blog. What a coincidence?


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