Woman works to honor late father by setting a record with his matchbook collection

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ROCKINGHAM COUNTY, Va. (WHSV) — Linda Holsinger spent Sunday afternoon going through dozens upon dozens of boxes and folders of matchbooks — all collected by her father.

Holsinger believes her father's collection has over three million matchbooks in it.

"One of the boxes we counted this morning has 1,390 in it in – just one box and there are about 50 boxes in the closet," Holsinger said.

Holsinger inherited her father's matchbook collection when he passed away three years ago. It's a collection that had been growing for more than 50 years.

"He would just pick them up everywhere because they were free and he'd just take a paper grocery bag until it got full of books," Holsinger said. "He'd stack that paper bag on another once it got full and kept collecting more books."

The collection includes boxes, binders and frames filled up with matchbooks from hotels, bars, restaurants, and even pharmacies.

Holsinger said she wanted to honor her father's collection by making it in a record book, but she needed to count all the matchbooks before reaching out to the Guinness Book of World Records.

The amount piled up was so incredibly large, she decided to ask her neighbors to help count.

"They sent out an invitation to everybody on the street asking them to help count matchbooks," Mary Kauffman, a neighbor, said. "It was a way to get the job done and spend time with our neighbors."

The invitation offered food for neighbors' help, including pimento cheese sandwiches.

The current record for matchboxes is set at 20,736, but Holsinger said she hopes to set a new record for matchbooks in lasting memory of her father.

"I didn't want to see it go and not have anything to show for all the time he spent collecting," Holsinger said. " If we could get it in the book, that would be history."