- "Phillumeny" is the
collecting of matchboxes, matchbox labels, and matchcovers. The
oldest branch of the hobby is the collecting of the removable
labels from matchboxes. This started in the latter 1800's and
is still the main focus in Europe, Asia, and Africa. Later, matchboxes
appeared with the text printed directly on the box. Thus the
boxes, themselves, then became collectible.
- In North
America, and to a lesser extent South America and Western Europe,
the focus of the hobby is heavily weighted toward matchcovers.
Invented by American Joshua Pusey in 1892, Diamond Match Co.
bought the rights to the matchbook in 1894...and the rest is
label collectors gradually switched their attention to matchbooks
instead of matchbox labels, so much so, in fact, that labels
are not popular with today's collectors. By the early 1930s,
the first organized matchcover clubs began appearing. None of
these survived, however, but they eventually did give impetus
to the birth of RMS.
- In 1941,
Henry Rathkamp and a handful of collectors founded what soon
came to be known as the Rathkamp Matchcover Society. Today, it
is the "parent" organization for phillumenists throughout
North America. Under the unofficial umbrella of RMS, there are
currently some 33 regional and specialty clubs around the US
are also clubs in England, Germany, Holland, France, Portugal,
Romania, Malta, Russia, Slovakia, South Africa, Australia, India,
and Hong Kong, but in almost all of these foreign clubs the collecting
centers on boxes and labels.