Thursday, November 8, 2012

Matchbox labels

Go to Google Images and click "Indian Matchbox Labels".  You will be astounded by the endless list of images and you will find an amazing array!  I also learnt that this is a hobby called 'Phillumeny"!  

Used in our home during the 60s and later, it was 'Cheetah Fight' matches which was very popular.  But I have not been able to retain even one.  The label was pasted on the little box made entirely of thin wood shaving and dressed with paper, including the sliding tray that contained 50 wooden sticks.  The label had a forest scene in the background of a villager with a sickle fighting a cheetah.  Later it was changed to a simpler logo of a fighter with a sickle held up against a pouncing cheetah. 

Matchbox labels in the 1960s and 70s were an outrage among the boys here who staked them for various games with marbles.  The loser of the game has to give the winner the agreed number of labels.  Due to its demand among the boys many small shops sold a packet of ten labels for 2 paisa.  Cheeta Fight brand was not accepted for games!  "Chavi" brand [key] was valued very low.   These values were fixed on popularity and scarcity!  The more scarce [rare] its value was higher. There also used to be ordinary labels of film heroes mixed up with the packet.  These were unacceptable for the stakes as they were considered worthless.  Sometimes these were found in the little packets tied with a thread when we bought.  We had no choice.  Invariably the one on top would be a very attractive and rare label!  So we fell for them only to find these hero labels mixed up along with other low value and 'common' labels.  We were taken for a ride and we knew it.    

Many labels in my collection have been 'won' by me, mostly playing the marble games with other street boys.  He who boasted the most number of matches won in total was a hero among the boys!  Counting them was great fun! Later when its popularity died and having outgrown playing these street games, I decided to put all the collected labels in an album type book.   A Rotary Club souvenir came in handy.  There was even scope for classified themes now. 

Googling, I discovered that there are dedicated match label collectors who collect thematically and I was doing no different. The only difference is that I have stopped adding to it 35 years ago.  I do not belong to the 'collector' category but these things have 'accumulated' due to my wins and also many I had purchased in those packets. 

These match labels have funny spellings also.  Observe as you scroll, click on the pictures to 'enlargify'.


Flowers












Big matches were rare to find!  They came on match box packets. 
I have used my 7th standard notes for the album. 



Animal Heads


Elephants.

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11 comments:

Susan Hirneise Moore said...

Those things are miniature works of art! Thanks for sharing....
Susan

Susan Hirneise Moore said...

Those matchbook labels are miniature works of art, Dinu....
Susan

Dr D.G.Pancholi said...

You satiated my thirsty soul looking for my childhood treasure.thanx sir.-Dr pancholi

Dr D.G.Pancholi said...

Mandrake and Phantom my childhood treasure...wanna old scanned copy by email MrDinkar ?Isimply be happy to share because you helped me indirectly.Regards.

Rajesh said...

excellent collection,

i am rajesh, i have collect small amount of matchbox labels

plz visit
http://rajesh-godofkings.blogspot.in/p/matchbox-labels.html

and file your comments
thank you
urs
rajesh
tirunelveli
tamilnadu
india

SPGR. said...

I too played those marble and its variant, a stone games(adi-john-molam) and have given and received cigrette box labels and films(cut ones). Nostalgic. Its great that you have preserved them.

Dr. Siddhant oys said...

Please visit the given link to enjoy our matchbox collection from Ayodhya, Faizabad (U.P.)- India. http://itismypen.blogspot.in/2014/02/matchbox-photo-album.html

Girishgowda said...

I am also a collector of matchboxes from past 20 yrs. I would be more than happy to swap matchboxes or match labels with u. If u have any extra then please contact me.
Dr. Girish
8801601672.

venki said...

_______________/\__________________ you rekindled my childhood memories, ty soooo much

Unknown said...

Nostalgic memories are cmg. I used to buy 10 matches ( Top one glossy ) for one paisa and one gold ( marble) for one paisa . I have always lost in marble matches game. (1964-1968). My brother had a good collection of matches and not sure if still has it. Used to buy 3 golds and 20 matches for 5 paisa which was maximum I could get from parents.
's. Viswnathan.

Subramanian Viswanathan said...

Nostalgic memories are cmg. I used to buy 10 matches ( Top one glossy ) for one paisa and one golI ( marble) for one paisa . I have always lost in marble matches game. (1964-1968). My brother had a good collection of matches and not sure if still has it. Used to buy 3 golis and 20 matches for 5 paisa which was maximum I could get from parents. Used to collect and play with cigarette pack covers ( gold flake, Panama, Bears, Passing show Charminar etc.) Drawer packets will be full of golI and matches etc.
's. Viswnathan.