- As with other collectibles,
condition and age are of prime concern with matchcovers and matchboxes,
and collectors, of course, are always after pristine examples
and thus check for several types of damage:
- >Bobtailed:In the early days of matchcover collecting,
collectors often cut off the striker portion of the cover. Such
covers are called 'bobtailed' covers and are worthless.
- >Cut Corners: Also in the early days, some collectors
would cut the corners off covers (usually on the bottom) so that
they would slide into slotted aubum pages more easily. Sometimes,
on boxes, someone has simply opened them up by cutting them open
instead of opening the glued surface...a no-no.
- >Gluing: Sometimes, older covers will be seen
to have been glued onto album pages. This ruins the inside of
the covers and obliterates any text or design which may have
- >Struck: This is by far the most common form
of damage. Every time a match is struck against the striker,
a mark is left . These are referred to as 'struck covers' and
are generally unwanted by collectors, except, perhaps, as 'temporaries'
until unused examples can be found.
- >Oxidation:Strikers are suceptible to oxidation,
usually brought on by being stored under higher levels of hunidity.
The strikers may have turned green or otherwise discolored or
become very soft and easily broken.
- >Color Fading: Covers that have been exposed to
bright light for an extended period of time will fade.
- >Creasing: Here, covers have been crushed in
one way or another, and the result is permanent crease marks
on what should be a uniformly smooth cover.
- >Water Damage: Covers that have been damaged by
water or other liquids will be stained and/or have a 'rippled'
or 'wavy' texture.
- >Punctures: Holes in covers have usually be caused
by tacks, when the covers have been tacked to a wall, etc.
- >Writing: Covers that have been written on
on the outside have been ruined (except, of course, if the writing
is a celebrity signature). Writing on the inside is not as serious,
and pencil, at least, can be erased.
- >Dirty: Covers that are dirty, for whatever
reason, are usually of little interest.
- >Wear and Tear: simple wear and tear, caused by excessive
handling and improper storage. Such covers will show frayed edges
and/or small nicks and tears again on the edges.
- All of the above types
of cover damage will lessen collector interest and often render
the covers of no interest at all. So, the general rule here is
that anything that detracts from the original condition of the
cover detracts from collector interest and value.
- The other major factor
is age. Although non-collectors are always calling their 1970s,
1960s matchbooks 'old', within the hobby it's not old unless
it's pre-World War II (pre-1941), and even then most of this
old material is not particularly special otherwise. That's where
categories come in. For example, a 1930s cover from a laundry
or insurance company may only elicit a yawn, whereas a 1930s
cover from World's Fair or Navy Ship may elecit a 'Wow!'.
- >Pre-1930s covers are relatively rare and would
be of interest no matter what the specific category.
- >Post 1950s covers, even though some may be approaching
60 years old, are all pretty much run-of-the mill for collectors.
They are much more numerous and common. That doesn't mean they
are not wanted by the collector, though. If they fall into his
or her preferred categories (RRs, Holiday Inns, Chinese Restaurants,
whatever), the interest will still by high.