Family Phillumeny

Phillumeny is the hobby of collecting match-related items (don't ever say this blog never teaches you anything!) such as matchbooks, matchboxes, labels and covers. Coined by Marjorie S. Evans, president of the British Matchbox Label & Booklet Society in 1943, phillumeny is the act of collecting, and a phillumenist is a collector. The age of exploration runs parallel with the popularity of collecting matches - they acted as souvenirs when people travelled to exotic countries from the mid-nineteenth century and this is still very much the case today. Ever since I was a child I admired an old Chinese tea tin my parents would use to house their own collection of matches, each holding a memory of their travels around the world and it has inspired me to always be on the hunt for well designed matches with unusual typography. Not as easy as you think, but the more exotic the location the more unusual the matches are and I'm sure this resonates as much today as it did two-hundred years ago. Behold a very small selection of the hundreds of matches that are bursting out of the old tea tin - it was wonderful to link stories and memories with nearly everyone of the matchbooks and covers - I've tried to pick out the most interesting in terms of design and colourway...
There's always a favourite, and even though I was only a few years old at the time, this one is mine. My Father was on a business trip to Bangkok and each guest had their own personalised matchbox set at their dinner placement. What's so interesting is not only the font, its simplicity, or the fact that my Father's name is on the box: the red-foiling is still as vivid as it was the day it was made and that triggered all the memories of that particular trip all thanks to the old tea tin - a phillumenist's display cabinet it may not be, but a tin that collects and preserves so many memories is just as special.