Matchcover Collectors May Convention In Fresno

Matchcover collectors from around the world will gather at the Piccadilly Inn Airport in Fresno, California for the 53rd annual convention of the Associated Matchcover Clubs of California (AMCAL) May 21 to 24. The public is invited.

There will be millions of matchcovers all over the hotel, as collectors buy, sell and trade. There will be “free tables” piled high with matchbooks and matchboxes available for the taking. Collectors also go from hotel room to hotel room, as many attendees put out matchcovers on their bureau tops for fellow collectors to take home.

Collecting matchbooks and matchboxes is one of the most avid hobbies in America. Many people begin by saving them as souvenirs of places they have visited and putting them in a brandy snifter on the coffee table. In time, these accumulations grow into bona fide collections, usually with the matches removed and the covers flattened and placed in albums.

With smoking now banned in many areas, new matchbooks are getting harder to find. As a result, older covers are becoming increasingly prized. Some hobbyists are beginners, while others have collections numbering many thousands and listed in the Guinness Book of World Records.

Some of the most popular categories of matchbook collecting are casinos, hotels, restaurants, railroads, airlines, World’s Fairs, U.S. Navy ships, political campaigns, sports, entertainment, and old advertising (such as soft drinks, beer, and cigarettes). You can collect anything from Las Vegas casinos to NASA space shuttles.

One of the most famous matchcovers in history is the matchbox, “I Shall Return,” which Gen. Douglas MacArthur dropped from aircraft over the Philippines during World War II. More recently, the U.S. State Department distributed millions of matchbooks offering rewards for information leading to the capture of terrorists.

In Fresno, collectors will present more than 50 colorful exhibits of prized matchcovers, including displays on subjects like casinos, Route 66, Disney theme parks, military, celebrities, transportation, and “Patriotic” (this year’s convention theme). The public is invited to view the displays on Thursday, May 22 and Friday, May 23, during daytime hours. There will also be four matchcover auctions.

AMCAL is cosponsored by four California matchcover collectors’ clubs: Angelus Matchcover Club in Pasadena; Long Beach Matchcover Club in Long Beach; San Diego Matchcover Club in San Diego; and Sierra-Diablo Matchcover Club in Sacramento. Although sponsored by California groups, the annual convention draws an international audience. Bobbie Mac Kenzie of Malden, Massachusetts is this year’s AMCAL President.

For more information, call Doug Fouquet at (858) 755-2311, or starting May 21, at (559) 251-6000.

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