Strike Up A Conversation

A collection of matchbook covers from the international travels of a successful Dutch businessman from 1917 - 1957.

Kersen J. De JongKersen J. De Jong (an avid cigar smoker) and Bart Moret were the founding partners of the accounting firm Moret & De Jong, which they began in 1917. The firm quickly expanded, opening offices in major cities in the Netherlands and appointed representatives in the Netherlands Antilles, England, Belgium, France, Germany, and the United States. At the beginning of the Second World War, Moret was arrested by the Nazis for his participation in the resistance and was transported to Germany where he died in the Bergen Belsen concentration camp. DeJong led the firm until his death in 1957.

De Jong began passionately collecting matchbook covers and cigar band rings during his international travels, which spanned the years 1917 through 1957. During that time he collected more than 2,500 matchbook covers from the United States, the Netherlands, Belgium, Denmark, Germany, France, England, South Africa, Indonesia, Hungary, and China. De Jong collated these matchbook covers by gluing them to the back of hundreds of worksheets of the audits of his clients, e.g., Van Berkel’s Patent Profit and Loss Statements of 1936. Mr. Van Berkel, a good friend of De Jong, founded Van Berkel Patent in the Netherlands, and started a subsidiary in Chicago in the early 1900s.

The economic relationship between the Netherlands and the United States has always been strong. The Netherlands has been the second largest investor in America for more than a century, with investments in railroads during the 1880s, oil (Royal Dutch Shell), Philips Electronics (Norelco Shaver), Unilever (Lipton Tea) and Van Berkel Patent. To accommodate the needs of many Netherlands based multi-nationals, Moret & DeJong expanded and merged with fellow accounting firms at home and abroad, to become what is today Ernst & Young.

Another friend and high school classmate of De Jong’s was Albert Plesman, the founder of KLM Royal Dutch Airlines in 1919. The collection includes matchbook covers from those early aviation days – including KLM, United Airlines and TWA.

This unique collection consists of matchbook covers which depict scenes from the era, including ocean liners, restaurants, hotels, American baseball players, actors and historic events such as the opening of Oakland Bay Bridge in San Francisco, the New York World’s Fair 1939, and the Second World War: "General Douglas MacAthur–I Shall Return." These matchbook covers represent the travels of a successful international businessman during the first half of the 20th century.


The collection also includes a rare1920s poster (30x40 in.) of Belgium’s largest matchbox producer, Belga Lucifers, printed in Paris, France.

De Jong died from a stroke in1957 at the age of 64 at his favorite restaurant “Royaal” in The Hague as he was having a cup of coffee and smoking a Willem II cigar.

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