Collecting Antique Match Vendors

One of our friends, Curtis, recently had a beautiful collection consigned to him and we were excited to pay him a visit to see it. This collection was unusual because it contained many match vending machines, including many that we have not seen before.

Curtis Kaufman began collecting antiques in 1989. When he was unable to find anyone to restore some of his collectibles, he began to teach himself how to do his own restorations. He began with Coca-Cola items. Restoration was a hobby in the beginning, but is now his full-time occupation. He calls his business Memory Lane Restorations. He sells his items at the Hershey Show, Mecum Auto Show, and the Auburn show in Indiana to name a few. He is fortunate enough to work for himself. His workshop is on the property where he lives in Hagerstown, Maryland. Curtis likes to creatively re-imagine the purpose of an old, rough machine sometimes, rather than return it to the way that it would have looked when it was new.

When Lloyd and I were first married, he would buy beat up, old candy or cigarette vending machines, especially the Stoner type. They didn’t look like much, but Lloyd would sell them  to Curtis and we would drive to his shop to deliver them to him. There, to my delight, were his finished restorations in shining candy colors with gleaming new chrome and decals. I thought they were beautiful. I think he gets great satisfaction from giving an old machine a new life. Curtis is one of the most exuberant and friendly of all the people we know in the hobby or business of collectibles.

To hear Curtis tell his story and to see one of his restorations, visit this video.


Curtis met us in the warehouse that he was using to store the  consigned items, and many other pieces that he has restored or plans to restore. There, the match vendors were neatly displayed on a table, together.

I had the opportunity to photograph many of these beautiful, restored match vendors and to learn a little about them, with the help and cooperation of our friend. Lloyd was enchanted.This was not an item that he had carried in inventory before and it is always fun to explore something new. He bought a few, listed them on his Facebook page and they were quickly sold. He couldn’t resist the temptation to return to the collection to buy a few more, and then a few more after that. Each time, they quickly sold. Lloyd says the best way to learn about a collectible is to own it, research and sell it.

Below,I have included photos and descriptions of many of the match vendors that we saw that day, including several that Lloyd bought and sold, and have been featured on the Coinopwarehouse Facebook page. I have included links to a website that shows these same models in their original, unrestored condition for comparison.

This one, “The SCUP”, made by Northwestern Corporation of Morris, Illinois, has a cigar cutter and stands 13 1/2 inches high. It is just like the Northwestern “Sellum” model, except for the front plate where the photo of the fish is found. It is more collectible than the other “Sellum” models.

The Scup Match Vendor

The next one was made by the LaClede Manufacturing Co of St. Louis, MO.  While this is not an ornate machine, it is very uncommon and one of the harder ones for a collector to find.

I believe the vendor below is a Specialty Model D, by Specialty Manufacturing Company about 1915. Photos of this model in unrestored condition are available at

The match vendor below was made by the Charles Higgins Co. of Columbus, OH.

Some of these early match vendors are very ornate and quite pretty. This one was rechromed, and the originals were probably of a nickel finish that was less bright, or were painted.

Below, is a Columbus match vendor, but I have not yet determined which model it is. It does not match the photos of Models 25, 30 or 36.


Here is another example of a match vendor by The Northwestern Company.

The vendor below looks like a Griswold Evernice. You can compare this restored vendor to one in original condition at;

The vendor below is a Northwestern Art Granite Model. It was adjustable for full or half size boxes of matches.  A good place to see photos of this model in the original condition is this website;

Below is a 1930’s Northwestern book match merchandiser.

Below is a photo of a restored Specialty No. 2 Perfection. This is similar to the Northwestern Sellum model, but the Perfection drops the matches into the center of the machine, while the Sellum model alternates which side the matches are dropped out of. Look closely at the two sides near the bottom and you will see fire-breathing dragons.

The vendor below is from Diamond Match Company, c 1928.

This was a great opportunity to gain knowledge of the history and values of this small, coin-operated type of vendor. As demand for any particular collectible rises and falls over time, what has always been the saving grace of Coinopwarehouse has been the variety of inventory. When demand for jukeboxes wanes, we sell pinballs instead. If we can’t find enough pinballs, we sell kiddie rides and video games. Antique advertising, antique arcade games, and cars are always selling on the side. Now, Lloyd has something new to hunt for.

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