My great-grandparents collected matchbooks. I don't know whether they went to all the places they collected matches from, but they had a lot. My great-grandpa died before I was born, but we used to go see my great-grandma and I was fascinated by great glass jars of matchbooks.
Somehow, my sister got a hold of these over the years and I have always coveted them. Now that she is moving and getting rid of excess, I was finally able to get them.
Some of these matchbooks are really cool-looking. Most are from restaurants, casinos and hotels. One is from the Twin Drive-In in Independence, MO, which proudly advertised itself as "Kansas City's Most Fabulous Movie Entertainment Center," which is kind of funny if you know Independence. But some are from odd, out-of-the-way places, and others are advertisements or even political campaign materials. The one thing they all have in common is a pleasing retro design, some more pleasing than others.
This collection is a real snapshot of America from the 1940s through 1960s. Some of the matchbook covers are worth scanning in at high resolution, and I may get around to that someday soon. There's probably a whole sub-branch of history that deals with matchbook covers, for all I know. It's certainly a real slice of popular road and club culture.
...and a big glass globe full of them is an interesting and attractive accessory for home or office.