Wednesday, December 23, 2009

The First Commercially Available Match Book

Available at Cowan's.

Here's the auction house description:

Lot of 2, includes the match book itself, which is card stock, quite similar to those made today. It is printed card stock with advertising on each face and the paper match sticks themselves. Cover with Wholesale/& Retail/Dealer In/Cigars/Tobacco/Snuff & C/Cor. Front & Locust Sts./Columbia, PA., reverse with John Fendrich/Wholesale/Dealer In/Leaf Tobacco/And Manufacturer/Of/Fine Cigars, top fold has manufacturer's label with front portion missing printed surface, but originally reading Binghamtom Match Co./Binghamton, N.Y.. Interior of each match has printed Smoke The Tilly, and it has an inked inscription reading Given to Grandpa/Purple by John/Fendrich, with seven yellow-tipped matches remaining and 1" x 1.5" striking pad on interior of cover, 1.5" x 2.25" high. Lot also includes a cabinet card portrait of Elisha J. Purple with imprint of C.A. Sweet, Wellsboro, Pa.

The best guess for the 1st commercially printed all-paper match cover was that it was produced by the Binghamton Match Co. in 1893 or 1894 based on Joshua Pusey's invention. Earlier book matches are known from the 1850-80's, but these were substantially different from Pusey's patent. Diamond Match Co. sued Binghamton for patent infringement in 1894 and won.

Condition: As above, minor soil on cover, VG-.

(EST $800-$1000)

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