Monday, October 31, 2022

Johnny's Box Part I: Matchbooks

Those of us who read Johnny's Trading Spot know all about John's Uncle Fred, who recently passed away at the age of 99. Fred was a collector of various items as well, and Johnny very generously shared some of his uncle's collection with me.

I've divided the contents of the box into three posts. This post features the items that took up the most space in the box, the matchbooks. Johnny sent hundreds of matchbooks, which generally appear to be from the 1960s-1980s.

There were more hotel matchbooks than anything else. Perhaps Fred had a profession that involved a lot of travel? I'd seen the "keyed-up executives unwind at Sheraton" before, but didn't own one. Now I own 33! Showed the front and back of one here. Anyone else who would like one, let me know. There were several other Sheraton varieties (I'm guessing he liked Sheraton best?) but plenty of others as well.

Here are a few well-known brands. There were several Florsheim matchbooks (various varieties) and a few other shoe-related ones too. Perhaps he was in that business? There were a few military-related ones as well. "Today's Army Wants to Join You" is a slogan that I can't imagine went over very well. I wonder if the tiny print indicates that even the person who ordered the matchbooks was embarrassed by it.
In 1973 the US government mandated that matchbooks could only have the striker on the rear of the matchbook, not the front. Front-strike books continued to be sold until 1978 to allow manufacturers to clear existing stock. (That's one easy way to determine the time period of a particular matchbook). I'd never seen a matchbook that actually referenced the new regulation, so I thought this one was really fun.
This looks like a matchbook, but it's not. It's golf tees! I've seen matchbook-sized sewing kits (in fact there was a Hilton one in the box), but never a golf tee holder before.
Perhaps Fred's business involved having matchbooks printed for his business? Universal was probably the biggest, and certainly most innovative matchbook company. Or perhaps, judging by the name on the foil matchbook, there was a relative in the business?


  1. That 'Keyed Up' book is kind of neat (but I don't need one), it reminds of something, but I can't think of what at the moment.

  2. I certainly hope you enjoyed goign through those.