The Never Ending World of Matchbox Labels

How we got to have so many matchbox labels...

Everyone loves matchbox labels, that much is true, but how did we get to have a cabinet absolutely full of them! Thousands if we ever counted, with drawers labels like 'Animals A-L' , 'Historical' and the useful 'Instructional.'

Of course we collected them occasionally when we found a good one here or there at a paper ephemera show or antique dealer's booth, but the big mother lode of them came when my Father, Harold Darling Sr., met a man in England who had a stash of thousands, where he got them remains a mystery but he and Harold made an arrangement in which he (his name escapes me now) would send Harold an envelope stuffed full of matchbox labels, hundreds of them, grouped loosely in envelopes priced at twenty-five cents to a dollar. Harold would sort through them, choosing the ones he wanted and sending the rest back with cash to the gentleman, all on the honor system.

This went on for a number of years and I can picture vividly my Father standing at his desk sorting a new batch of labels, it was always a happy occasion. This was very much my Father, and any good collector really, a steady resoluteness, an unwavering devotion to the work at hand, adding a few labels a month, until we had thousands!

We use some of them on cards and prints, but we look forward to making a book or other major project someday featuring these amazing little art works.