Tag Archives: Matchbox Labels

Fake news—-1932 style

Buddha matches

Found in the Jan-Feb 1932 issue of Collector’s Miscellany is this report on a bizarre anti-religion campaign rumoured to have been created by the USSR.

‘It has been extremely difficult to secure definite information relating to the anti-religious match-box labels said to have been issued by the Soviet Government as part of their anti-God campaign. The one illustrated in this issue depicts the crucification of Christ and bears the words “Jesus Christ Safety Matches”. This label is understood to be one of a series, as there are said to be others depicting the Sacred Heart and various other religious subjects.

       These matches which have been the subject of much comment in the daily press, are said to have been hawked upon the streets of London by gutter merchants and that a member of Parliament raised the question in the House of Commons as to whether any action was being taken by the British Government.

         One thing is certain, and that is these labels are likely to be rare; I do not know of any collector in this country fortunate enough to secure a specimen. A London correspondent assured me that the matches were never sold in London but were produced by the Krishna Match Co. of India, who also issue of BUDDHA MATCH, and others featuring various Indian religions. Personally, I am inclined to favour this statement, as the box in question, said to have been bought in the New Cut, may easily have been bought from India by some seaman.                                                                                                        (JOSEPH PARKS ) Continue reading

The madness of collecting–Major Pat A’ Beckett

jesus-christ-matchbox-label-001Found in a copy of the October 1936 issue of The Collector’s
is this account of fanatical collector Major A Beckett, who many times risked his life for a matchbox label:

‘ He states that as a boy of 8 whilst riding in a tramcar he dropped his ticket. Bending down to search for it he found an unusual match-box. This interested him, and there and then he commenced to collect match-box labels, having now accumulated a collection of over 25,000 different varieties. He remarked that on several occasions he has been nearly run over whilst picking them up in the gutter. During the War, whilst in the Piccadilly Tube, he saw a matchbox label lying on the line. He jumped down to secure it but a policeman came and arrested him on a charge of attempted suicide. Whilst at the Police Station he was examined by a Doctor, and it was only when they rang up his Army Headquarters that he was able to establish his identity. Part of his collection was presented him by the late King of Siam, who more than once was run over while searching for labels. The Major recently made the acquaintance of Mr Burnell, the proprietor of a Weymouth hotel, who owns a collection of 27,000 different labels. Mr Burnell offers any figure for the rare Indian label of the Crucifixion. Only a few copies of this label, which we illustrate on this page, were ever printed, as the design was almost immediately suppressed’. ( p 66). Continue reading