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site updated: 2015-12-07
page updated: 2011-12-12

You may if you have any questions about the British Matchbox Label and Bookmatch Society (BML&BS) or phillumeny generally.


You may also if you have any questions about collections you have or specific items you have found. We get many enquiries so we may not be able to respond as quickly as you would want but we will do our best to reply as quickly as possible.


If you are asking about valuations on collections, large or small, please be as specific as you can. A collection of 50 or 500 may be large to you but you should be aware that the average collection size of a member of the BML&BS is approximately 30,000, though a typical new member will have a collection of less than 1,000. Many BML&BS members would consider even a collection of 30,000 to be small! Collections smaller than 2,000 may not contain anything of much value. On the other hand a collection of a few dozen from a hard to collect from country could be worth several pounds and any highly specialised collection pre-1970 could be valuable.


So collections below 100 it is best to quote the exact number. Up to 1,000  estimates to the nearest hundred will do; up to 10,000 estimates to the nearest 1,000 will do; otherwise estimates to the nearest 5,000 or 10,000 will be sufficient to give a guide. If possible give separate estimates for (a) matchbox labels, (b) complete matchboxes (it usually doesn't matter if they have matches or not), (c) "skillets" (matchbox outers with the printing directly on the card, (d) matchbooks (opened out or still stapled, it also usually doesn't matter if they still have matches or not).


Old for phillumenists tends to be pre-1970. But there are many labels even as far back as pre-1900 that a very common amongst collectors. Few items after 1970 are valuable though most items from hard to collect countries are worth something.  So it is always helpful to know the approximate year when a collection was started and when it ceased.


What are the hard to collect countries? Certainly all of South America, Central America and most of Africa. Middle East, Asia except India, China and Japan are all quite difficult. primarily we are talking about matches made in these "hard to collect" countries and not matches imported into their markets unless from other hard to collect countries.


Condition is also important when considering values. Specimens need to be complete and clean to command the best values. Many incomplete specimens will have no value. Match covers for matchbooks need to have all five panels present. Most modern matchboxes have the design printed direct on the card and all five panels need to be present. Many matchbox labels are affixed to the top of a box, in this case matchbox "tops" with the label affixed are perfectly acceptable. Many other matchboxes, especially those manufactured in Britain before 1970 had labels that wrapped around all four sides of the box.  These labels have five panels and all need to be present unless from a very old (pre-1940) or very rare issue to have a value.


Please mention how the collection is assembled: e.g. in a shoe box, mounted in albums with stamp hinges, glued in  a scrapbook, etc.


It is worth mentioning if there is present any literature on the hobby, or correspondence with other phillumenists.  These could be valuable in their own right but is also usually an indicator that the collection may include more valuable items.


If you can, it is always useful to send a few images of what you think is representative of the collection.



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