Collector Spotlight: Holiday Inn collection keeps growing

The beauty of collecting is that it is so individual and so personal. You pick an area and off you go.

Let me introduce myself. My name is George Cosentini. I worked 25 years for Shell Oil Co. My wife Christine and I have three children – George, Lisa and Kiki – and four grandkids. Our grandchildren – Kelcy, Kori, Sarah and David – are our jewels.

Christine and I love to travel, going to philatelic conventions and places just because we are curious what they look like. We spent half a lifetime in Houston, but after retiring we are now 1.5 miles from the Pacific Ocean in San Diego, Calif. If somehow I can get some time off from collecting, it gets swallowed up by football.

I started out a lifetime ago saving stamps, moved on to (and still do) collecting covers (full envelopes) of U.S. military mail from WWII to the present, then strayed into postcards and matchbook covers from Holiday Inn locations.

With variations, I have about 2,300 cards, with a few new ones popping up from time to time. Most collectors collect ’em by location, but the front of the postcard can be different, so for one location you might have a half a dozen different postcards. Unfortunately I have not been able to locate an overall list.

For both matchbook covers and postcards there are stock and non-stock items. Stock items have no location given. Early stock items had “The Nation’s Innkeeper” on the photo of the Holiday Inn sign. After the chain went international, it was changed to “The World’s Innkeeper.” There are postcards from Mexico and South Aftrica with the message in the sign in their own language.

Non-stock cards are mostly real photographs, taken from ground level or from the air. There are also hand-drawn MBCs and postcards for the chain.

Holiday Inns grew from establishments with two floors around a courtyard and swimming pool to 20-30 floors in the middle of town. As the chain grew, the photography became very good.