Today, marketing is a highly skilled and nuanced mix of artistry and science. It wasn’t so long ago that the most thought that most businessmen would give marketing is making sure people leave their business with a pack of matches with the business name on them.
Everybody smoked. Every business sold cigarettes. Everybody had a pack of matches in their pocket, and if they didn’t– they needed one. Everyone handing out matches was a win-win.
Matchbooks eventually became more that just a means for lighting a butt.
People might hold on to colorful, fun, or borderline pornographic (from a 1950s sensibility) matchbooks. Some became souvenirs of visiting a restaurant or a city.
Matchbook collecting became a serious hobby for many through the second half of the twentieth century.
eBay seller uniqueanteek has recently posted over 12,000 matchbook covers for auction, several dozen of which are from Buffalo, Niagara Falls, and the immediate area.
Especially for some of the smallest businesses, like neighborhood grocery stores, corner taverns, and storefront restaurants, these matchbooks are the sole surviving proof that these businesses ever existed.
Most of these matchbook covers date from the 40s and 50s, with a few as late as the 70s or early 80s.
Enjoy this unique, broad look at Buffalo’s pop culture history through the matchbook covers of uniqueanteek, and if the spirit moves you, head over to any of uniqueanteek’s auctions, and pick up one of these or any of the thousands of cool covers listed for sale.
Steve Cichon writes about Buffalo’s pop culture history. His stories of Buffalo's past have appeared more than 1600 times in The Buffalo News.
He's a proud Buffalonian helping the world experience the city he loves. Since the earliest days of the internet, Cichon's been creating content celebrating the people, places, and ideas that make Buffalo unique and special. The 25-year veteran of Buffalo radio and television has written five books and curates The Buffalo Stories Archives-- hundreds of thousands of books, images, and audio/visual media which tell the stories of who we are in Western New York.
View all posts by Steve Cichon