Tuesday, January 13, 2009


Q: I own the following unused politically inspired matchbooks made by the Diamond Match Co.: The Inaugural Ball, January 20, 1969; Salute to Eisenhower Dinner, January 20, 1956; and John F. Kennedy with a color Presidential Seal. Can you tell me their value?

A: Bookmatches were invented in America by Joshua Pusey, a Philadelphia patent lawyer, in 1892. He called his invention "Flexible Matches," but they were unreliable, even dangerous. He held the patent for two years, then sold it to the Diamond Match Co. of America for $4,000. Soon they were made more safe and usable. At the end of the 19th century, the striking surface was put on the outside of the book instead of inside the flap. A match salesman is said to be the first to suggest using the covers for advertising. The first political matchbook was handed out in 1900 by a Congressional candidate from Pennsylvania. Every time a smoker used a match, he saw the candidate's picture and message. Every president of the United States since William Howard Taft has had matchbooks printed, but in recent years with smoking less popular, fewer matches are giveaways.

Collectors look for matchbooks that have not been used and are in mint or excellent condition. The abrasive sections should be intact. If the matchbook is going to be pressed and displayed in an album, the staples can be removed. As for your matchbooks' values: the John F. Kennedy matchbook with the Presidential Seal is worth about $75; the Eisenhower Dinner matchbook, about $20; and the 1969 Inaugural Ball, $2 to $5.


j. frieseke said...

A few years ago I sold a box of matchbooks on Ebay. In completing the sale I discovered that it is difficult to legally ship matches either by USPS or UPS as they are classified as hazardous materials.

Anonymous said...

I have discovered several mint cndition matchbooks with the following advertisements:
1) DiMaggio's on Fishermans Wharf, sna Francisco,
2) Carstairs Highball
3) The Little Red Hen (Pawtucket, RI)
4) Riviera Las Vegas 1955 Silver Jubliee 1980,
5) Holdiay Inn, Innsbruck
6) Frankfort Sheraton Hotel

Are ther any value to these?

Anonymous said...

Presidential Matchbooks were given to me by an executive with Universal Match company. These are in MINT condition and have been kept in the original plastic display case they came in.

Richard M. Nixon
Embossed White House (front cover)
Presidential Seal, (back cover)
Color / White
*Presidential Seal is Royal/Gold

Vice President of the United States (front cover)
Spiro J. Agnew Signature w date (January 18,1973 (back cover)
Color / White
*VP Seal Gold/Royal

Gerald R.Ford
Embossed White House (front cover)
Presidential Seal, (back cover)
Color / White
*Presidential Seal is Royal/Gold

Presidential Seal (front cover)
Air Force One / Gold Script and graphic design of Plane (on back)
Color / Sky Blue

Where can I find a collector interested in the above?
What value are each of these individually or as a set of (4)

Your response is appreciated.