Animal Match Strikers
One of the interesting areas of majolica collecting is in smoking paraphernalia. Although not as popular as it was 20 years ago due to society's changed outlook on smoking, it is still a large and active field as a cross-collectible. Of these smoking related items, humidors would rank as the number one collectible category with match strikers coming in second.
Match strikers come in all sorts of shapes and types. Those I'm talking about today are the whimsical animal strikers from France, Germany and Austria. They usually comprise at least two small containers: one for matches and one for spent matches. Sometimes they also include holders for cigarettes or an ashtray. There is always a small ridged unglazed area somewhere on the piece for striking the match.
The prices on these run the full gamut from inexpensive ($30-$50) to very expensive in the hundreds of dollars.I can't tell you how often I've picked these up at flea markets and yard sales for practically nothing. Many people have no idea what they are, but if you keep out a keen eye you too may find one of these amusing little treasures.
As is the case for humidors the more sought after strikers are those with animals dressed in clothes and those of cats and dogs. These will usually command a premium price. Regardless of price, these merry little majolica survivors of a different age will liven any collection.