||Alan Downer 030
Inspired by a friend who had just started to collect matchboxes, my collection started on the 7th April 1966, at the age of 14. My initial collection, included matchboxes and cigarette packets. However, I soon decided to concentrate on matchboxes. Not only complete matchboxes, also the labels, bookmatch covers, match hardware, in fact any item connected to the match industry. My collection still remains a general collection, although I have a special interest in the pre-1960 Spanish matchboxes and matchbox labels marked Foreign Made. Although, these are not my only special interests, others include the brand Swan Vestas, Inserts found inside matchboxes, match tax stamps, Mexico, and many of the South American countries. In 1972, as part of my mechanical engineering studies at college, I was required to give a lecture to the other students. The research for this lead to the discovery of the existence of the “British Matchbox Label & Booklet Society” (BML&BS), now known as the “British Matchbox Label & Bookmatch Society”, through two books written by Joan Rendell. I joined the BML&BS in October 1972 and have remained a member ever since. I have been part of the committee of the BML&BS since 1995, and from October 2006 I have been the Editor of the “Match Label News”, their magazine. My interest in phillumeny has allowed me to see some impressive collections by visiting many fellow collectors, visiting match factories, visiting museums with matchbox collections, and attending meetings in a number of countries in Europe. This has enriched my life and I have gained many friends directly because of this hobby.