A "manumark" ("mm") is the line or lines of text immediately below the striker on front-striker covers (pre-1979), such as the one pictured above left. On reverse-striker covers, which were mandated in 1973 and became universal by the end of 1978, the mm would be above the striker. In some cases, the mm will be found on the inside of the cover, and in a few instances there may be no mm shown at all. The mm can be 1-3 lines, right-side up or upside down.
 
Manumarks are very important little fellows. They can tell who the manufacturer was, where the matchbook was produced (or at least the point of distribution), and how old the matchbook is.....but not always, and not necessarily all three items together. So, let's take a look at the information a manumark can give the collector and under what circumstances. Here's an example.
 
 
This mm tells us that this cover was produced by the Atlantic Match. Co. We'll discuss below those instances where you can't trust what the mm says, but this one's OK. Atlantic Match Co. was a match manufacturer. It also says "JACKSONVILLE, FLA." That's where Atlantic and its plant were located, so that's where the matchbook was produced. The manumark gives no date of origin, but if you do your research (see "The American Match Industry: A Biograph") you can find in which years Atlantic was in production, and, in many cases, if you have the right reference tool, you can actually narrow it down even further and find out in which years that specific mm was in use (see "MM Dating Guide" ).
 
Simple, yes? (you know there's a catch coming, right?) Well, it's a t-i-n-y bit more complicated than that because, truth-be-told, as far as manufacturer and location are concerned, you can't always rely on what the mm says! It turns out that, in many cases, the manumark doesn't refer to the manufacturer at all. Look at this example:
 
 
If you didn't know better, you'd simply assume that the manufacturer here was Pageant Match and that the matchbook was produced in San Francisco....not so! Pageant Match is not a manufacturer at all. It's a sales and distribution company, taking orders and passing them on to mainly Japanese manufacturers...and making sure that its own name appears in the mm. By the same token, there is no production plant in San Francisco; that's simply where the Pageant office was that was responsible for the order.
 
As it turns out, any Tom, Dick, or Harry can get his name in the mm. If Bob's Novelty Co. is the one handing the order and sending it into the manufacturer, then the mm on those covers will more than likely read "Bob's Novelty Co." The knowledgeable collector knows who is an actual manufacturer and who isn't, even though many of these non-manufacturing middle men actually call themselves "match companies" (i.e., "Arthurian Match Co., Camelot, England").
 
Complicated now?....Well, it's even more complicated than that...because even if the mm does contain the actual manufacturer's name, the location shown, especially for the larger manufacturers, may not be the production location. Look at the following example:
 
 
Atlas is, indeed, a manufacturer, but it has no production plant in Houston. That's simply \the branch office that handled the particular order. The more experienced you become, the easier you'll find it to decode the manumarks you come across.
 
Aside from the decoding, manumarks are of prime interest to collectors who focus on old covers. These collectors are looking for covers from old, defunct match manufacturers. So, they look for those companies' manumarks. Crown, King Midas, Star, Jersey, Manhattan, Union, Gem, General, and others are manumark names that are sure to spark a collector's interest!
 

 
"Footers" technically include any manufacturer's (as opposed to advertising) text located at the foot of the matchcover....that's normally where the "close cover before striking" is to be found. Thus, the "close cover before striking" is a footer. But, that's not the type of footer that is of interest to most collectors. There are special, highly sought-after footers. Observe...
 
 
These are four of the more famous footers. They were used, in most cases, by the respective manufacturers as trademarks for certain covers. Special footers such as these basically disappeared by World War II. Hence, when a collector happens upon one, he knows he's looking at an o-l-d cover. When you're looking for this type of footer, any that have "Quality" are good (various manufacturers put out various Qualities...i.e., "Eddy Quality," "Magno Quality," "Union Quality," etc.); any that have "Safety First" are good (i.e., Diamond, Art, Jersey, Lion, Hercules, and other companies all put out Safety Firsts). Plus, there are other types, two of which are pictured above.
 
Additionally, as with manumarks, these footers can also be dated to the specific range of years when they were actually used by their respective manufacturers. 

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