US Stamps

By John M. Hotchner

The wide world of philatelic matchbook covers: U.S. Stamp Notes

August 04, 2016 08:00 PM

  • Between the drop in smoking rates and the rise of inexpensive cigarette lighters, the need for matchbooks has declined. These examples are some of the more than 30 different major types reported as a means of reaching possible collectors with approval ads. How do approval companies reach possible customers today?

By John M. Hotchner

I discovered that there are a lot more philatelic matchbook covers than I expected when I presented the three examples I had in my collection in a 2015 U.S. Stamp Notes column.  

Since then, Linn’s readers have reported another 30 major varieties, and several of them have different subtypes.

Counting subtypes, there are almost 100 different matchbook covers with stamp advertising. 

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All of the major varieties were used to advertise approval services. 

The question, now that matchbook advertising is no longer reaching mass audiences, is how do approval companies reach the folks who might be candidates to begin collecting?

And if they are not able to do this, is this another reason why stamp collecting is continuing to lose market share? 

My thanks to readers R.H. Joy, Mark Sommer and Carl Troy who reported examples to add to my list.