Ambassadors of Goodwill: Vintage Matchbook Advertising and Design

I picked up this salesman’s catalog for the Mercury Match Corporation of Zanesville, Ohio, about 25 years ago at the big antique show in Brimfield, Massachusetts. I remember the purchase vividly—I was over the moon, but tried to act all cool as I attempted to barter the price down from $35 to the far more reasonable $25 I had in mind.

But I knew that I’d have paid $50 or more if I had to; anything to get my hands on Advertise with Mercury Union Label Book Matches. I was recently online and saw the same book selling for $250, and hoped that even one of the other investments I’d made over the years had fared anywhere near as well.

“Every time you pass out a Book of Matches,” the Book Matches Work page reads, “you are sending out an ambassador of goodwill directed to the very people you want to reach.” Advertise with Mercury Union Label Book Matches also includes pages filled with stock cuts—for the additional charge of $1.50 per case of 2,500 matchbooks (yikes!). And finally, “an authentic Mileage Chart, giving the distances from 95 of the most important cities to 32 other equally important cities.” Enjoy!

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