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AGE: I know those covers you have are 30, 40, 50 years old, but they're not...old! Old, in this hobby, begins with Pre-WW II material (that's earlier than Dec. 7, 1941). Hard to believe, but it's already been 65+ years since the end of World War II, so it's not that difficult to find covers well over half a century old. They look old; they feel old...but they're not...old! Still, you could find a cover from the 1930s, and it might not be of any great interest to collectors. Surprising? Keep in mind that there have been billions of covers issued over the last 100 years, so that dandy little 1930s cover you've just come across might well be an interesting item of conversation when the relatives come over, but to a collector it may be of no interest at all. Even most Pre-War covers aren't that sought after. In the 1940s and 1950s, we hit the Golden Age of matchcovers, but, although they're 60+ years old, again...they're not really "old". The 1960s and beyond....forget it! Those covers may be readily collectible for other reasons, but not for their age.
NOT BEING ISSUED ANYMORE: Be aware that the fact that "that business doesn't exist anymore" is meaningless. The vast majority of businesses advertised on matchcovers are gone. Businesses are hit and miss affairs, here today...gone tomorrow. The fact that that hotel burned down 30 years ago or that restaurant went belly up back in the '50s doesn't add anything to the value of that cover. There are exceptions, of course...The World Trade Center destroyed on 9/11, the Boston Coconut Grove destroyed in the famous 1942 inferno, etc. But, it was the disasters that give those covers special value, and those are rare exceptions.
FOREIGN: In some cases, 'exotic' is a plus; in other instances, it's the kiss of death! Covers in Arabic, Chinese, Japanese, etc., for example, are completely unintelligible to collectors here. Plus, foreign covers are often in 'non-standard' sizes, which makes them difficult to house. And, most of them are not in the most desirable categories to start with. I mean, what's a collector supposed to do with a laundromat cover from New Zealand? On the other hand, something such as a cover from the Abu Dhabi Sheraton [ which would be in English] has 'exotic' working for it, rather than against it. There are also various categories in Foreign that would always be of some interest...Cigarettes, Airlines, Girlies, Die-Cuts are the most common, although Foreign Military and some others would qualify, as well.
CONDITION: Don't forget that, as with all collectibles, condition is an important factor in value. Collectors are looking for unstruck, undamaged covers. The matches, themselves, are almost always removed by the collector, so if yours have already been carefully taken out, there's no problem with that. Also, if the cover is old and in a desirable category, it will still be wanted, even in used condition [collectors have to be practical, after all]."
One of these two match covers might change the story...
"In September 1892 attorney Joshua Pusey patented the first friction matchbook. The Binghamton Match Co., established in Jan 1893, developed a matchbook based on Pusey's design, to include a distinctive striker located inside the cover. A very limited amount were produced. In 1895 Pusey sold his invention to the Diamond Match Co. who successful sued Binghamton for patent infringement, forcing them out of business. Currently there are only two branded Binghampton Matchbooks known to exist, dating 1893/94." Titanic Items.com
Advertising match covers anyone?
Do you know anyone who got rich off antique/vintage match covers?