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Matchbox Labels: Over 2,000 Elegant Examples from All Over the World Paperback – October 2, 2004

4.4 out of 5 stars 5 customer reviews

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$54.82 $10.21

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Editorial Reviews

From Booklist

No ulterior or hidden motives--such as promoting sales or increasing values of collectibles. Instead, Smith is simply focused on celebrating the color and design of more than 2,000 matchbox labels collected worldwide, primarily through eBay. Nine different categories, from people and architecture to leisure and graphics, help separate these almost artlike objects. And the inclusion of French and Spanish translations make these brief explanations much more accessible. Any further description of the contents would never be enough; instead, let readers appreciate visually the almost infinite variety possible in such a small space. Appended to this lovely book are collectors' notes and Internet resources. Barbara Jacobs
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved

Review

Matchbox covers are an easy, cheap collectible... this book will give you an idea of the possibilities... an intriguing introduction to a hobby. (Liz Pogue Victoria Times-Colonist 2004-11-21)

Focused on celebrating the color and design of more than 2,000 matchbox labels collected worldwide... lovely book. (Barbara Jacobs Booklist 2005-01-01)

A wonderful introduction to the artwork found on matchboxes and to the hobby of collecting labels known as phillumeny. (Paper Collectors' Marketplace)

Any designer or art lover will welcome this fascinating, striking reference -- an excellent source for graphic ideas. (Antiques and Auction News)

The range of subjects, the colors, and art is interesting and amazing. (Linda Hutchinson San Gabriel Valley Tribune 2004-11-20)

Strikingly colorful and inexpensive collectibles... tiny artworks. (Lynn Van Matre Chicago Tribune 2004-12-12)
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 400 pages
  • Publisher: Firefly Books; First Edition edition (October 2, 2004)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1552979784
  • ISBN-13: 978-1552979785
  • Product Dimensions: 8.3 x 8.4 x 1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2.6 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,243,850 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Well designed and printed on quality paper, this well-stocked archive is a decent production for collectors, fans, and graphic designers. It's organization is clear and the color labels easily identified.

However, the most obvious shortcoming, and one that I found frustrating, was the amazing lack of North American selections. Nearly the entire 2,000 examples showcased are from former Soviet Union satellites and Asia. This isn't necessarily a bad thing - as you get a very good sense of Soviet-era constructivism and wonderful Asian simplicity & beauty. But the lack of labels from the United States, Canada and Mexico is sorely missed.

Although unbalanced - I would recommend this to devotees of the genre - if only to expose them to labels that aren't often seen. However, for graphic designers and fans of Americana, I would recommend focusing on selections by Chronicle Books.
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Format: Paperback
This book is great. The sheer number of matchook covers and the nice printing are really 95% of why it's a great book. The descriptions are good to great, and I enjoyed the groupings of the various types of matchbook covers.

I really don't like books that throw too much graphic design and 'flare' into the book design to help make the book more engaging.. it tends to overshadow the subject matter and distract. This book does not do that, and I applaud the publisher for it.

Of all the matchbook cover books I've bought, I go to this one for inspiration the majority of the time..
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Format: Paperback
I bought this as I'm interested in popular graphics and the two thousand samples included certainly capture the flavor of this tiny corner of the printed ephemera market.

The book is very well designed and printed but ultimately I was rather disappointed with the contents. There is a sameness about so many of these labels. The huge number from the old Soviet Union and the Eastern Block certainly look similar, only to be expected I guess but other nations output also seem bland and unimaginative. Perhaps the reason is that most of the labels included are brands rather than advertising labels that are so common today. Strangely none of the labels are dated but I would guess that most of them were produced several decades ago and the cheapness of liquid lighters now has reduced match output.

As another reviewer has commented the absence of North American product maybe also explains the lack of pizzazz and color. The matchbook was the flame of choice for Americans and there are no examples of these included.

This will probably be the standard book about matchbox labels because it is so comprehensive. The American matchbook is another story; their colorful design and huge output over the years will still produce occasional new titles. The one I like best is:Close Cover Before Striking: The Golden Age of Matchcover Art (Recollectibles) with several hundred matchbook covers in an attractively designed book.

***FOR AN INSIDE LOOK click 'customer images' under the cover.
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By AA on January 20, 2016
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Awesome...beautiful book!!
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Format: Paperback
I'm not a matchbook collector, but I am a graphic designer and I think any designer would find this collection of matchbook covers amongst the highest forms of eye-candy. The book is organized by subject matter, but often times the pages consist of a set from one particular country. I think that there is probably a lot of ground that this book did not cover, but over-all, this is an amazing book for anyone's visual reference library. The illustrations on the matchbooks are absolutely wonderful and inspiring.
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