Phillumeny – Collecting Malaysian Matchbox Labels


Phillumeny is the niche hobby of collecting vintage matchbox labels and other match-related items. 

Back in the days when smoking was far more prevalent than it is today, a box of matches was one of the most commonly carried items in a man’s pocket. In Malaysia there were a number of match manufacturers located around the country. The decline in smoking and the invention of cheap cigarette lighters has taken its toll on the industry but a couple of manufacturers still survive, such as the Kelantan Match Factory in Kota Bharu, established in 1933.

The entrance to the Kelantan Match Factory in KB.

The manufacturers decorated their matchboxes with logos and attractive images to promote their brands. Many of these miniature artworks have become collectors items, hence the hobby of phillumeny. Here are a few Malaysian examples:

Cap Lada – Chilly Brand by Kelantan Match Factory. These matches are produced currently.
Crown and Tiger by The Perak Match Factory, Teluk Anson (now Teluk Intan).
A similar design by the Kelantan Match Factory.
Tiger Head, another tiger inspired design from Kelantan Match Factory.
Rain Proof safety matches.
Flyingman Safety Matches by the Sincere Match & Tobacco Factory Ltd which is still operating.
Flag Brand by Sarawak Match Factory. Why the Indonesian flag?
Anchor Brand by the Elkayes Match Factory, Johor. This company was owned by Lee Kim Soo, whose initials formed the word Elkayes.
Sign outside the Kelantan Match Factory in Kota Bharu.

You can find some interesting photos of workers, mostly elderly, employed in the Kelantan Match Factory on this blog.












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