I was recently introduced to Jacob’s Antique Market just off Callaghan Square in Cardiff. The place was full of the usual old furniture and clothes you would expect from an antique market but there was an area at the back of the warehouse that grabbed my attention. There were tables and old cabinets full of bric a brac; old watches, jewellery, coins etc that for some reason I just couldn’t stop rifling through. Especially interesting was this box of old photographs and this throat lozenger tin that i have previously posted.
In amongst this treasure trove was a collection of old match boxes for 50p each. I cant really explain what made them so interesting to me, perhaps how detailed and beautiful some of the designs were yet they were on something that is essentially designed to be thrown away. Anyhow I took a few pictures and since I didn’t have any money on me (and being so broke) convinced myself that 50p for a random empty match box was a pointless expenditure and left. It was not till a day or two later when I was chatting to my little sis and showing her some of the pictures that she said ‘This is so weird, when me and dad were cleaning out granddad’s garage for him last week, dad stumbled upon his old match box collection and he’s brought it home’.
As it turns out my father had collected matchboxes as a boy and amassed quite a collection. It appears he had had the same curious fascination that I had felt in that antique market and within the same week had stumbled on his old collection and brought them home in a moment of nostalgia. This lead me to look through a box of trinkets I’d collected whilst travelling and in amongst the Moscow ticket-stubs and chopsticks were five or six boxes of matches that I’d picked up from various Hotels and restaurants along the way. The start of my very own match box collection.
It felt like a weirdly close connection in a loving yet sometimes somewhat distant relationship with my father. A shared genetic trait, if you will, for the affinity towards matchbox curiosities.