Match box lot# question


I got a bunch of wasted match boxes at 50 cents each at a small local show hoping to go through them and find some interesting match headstamps. Where on the box is the year? Is it the first 2 digit number after LC (in this case)?



Good question.

The year of manufacture can be determined one of several ways.

Some boxes will have the year printed on the back of the box (shooters call it the front) above the eagle.

Those that don’t have the year on the box can be determined by the lot number. Before 1980 you have to know the code. Not many collectors go through the trouble to break the code, but I do.

For example, I see one box of M118 in your photo, white box, Lot# 60-28. that was made in 1977.

After 1980 the lot numbers show the year and month along with a complicated bunch of numbers identifying the manufacturer, interfix, series, and other information.

Looking at one of your boxes, again, the brown box of Special Ball M118, Lot # LC-87M137-026, it was made in December 1987.

Now, just to keep things from being too easy, you will often find boxes where the headstamp does not match the lot number. For example, '79 headstamps in a box with an '82 lot number. This could be ammo that was manufactured in '79 and not boxed until '82, it could mean '79 cases that were not loaded until '82, or some such. That’s where the interfix and series numbers help to identify the ammuntion.

Confused yet???