Friday, August 12, 2011

Phillumenic conundrum

Prior to this event I had never heard of the obscure hobby of phillumeny, but what should have been a casual glance inside an antiques shop in Santa Cruz necessitated some brushing up on the matter. I could not resist leaving this singular item to gather dust on a shelf unless that shelf was mine.

this is all I know about this set
A defunct (?) match factory in Las Palmas (capital city of Gran Canaria), Fosforera Canariense, produced this nice set of 24 matchboxes sometime last century after its foundation in 1935. Information regarding such items is hard to come by, on-and-offline, therefore not much more is known at this stage.

click on image for large version
The set is called Caracolas Marinas (marine snails) and features 24 species of molluscs (inexplicably consisting of one bivalve and 23 predominantly tropical, not-all-marine, gastropods) heavily inked onto a pale blue background. The way they are packaged makes it impossible to see what is on the hidden side of each matchbox, and where, presumably, the species identifications are printed.

click on image for large version
Now, I am sorely tempted to tear open the polythene covering holding the set together in order to read them; on the other hand, doing so will detract from the neatness and value of the boxed set. I'm a stickler for 'accurate' identification (as opposed to mere Cypraea, Murex, Lambis, Harpa, Conus, Architectonica, Mitra, Cymatium etc.) but these cardboard versions will have to remain a mystery, at least until curiosity gets the upper hand.

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