Russian Matchbox Label - Sputnik 1
Russia Matchbox Label - Sputnik 2 & Lakia
Russian Matchbox Label
Russian Matchbox Label - Luna 2
Russian Matchbox Label

An amazing set of old Russian Matchbox Graphics celebrating early Soviet success in the space race.

These wonderful images are taken from an astonishing selection of over 1,000 Labels! All featured via Flickr User Mariad The majority of the labels are of Eastern European origin, and of course not all space related. Maraid also put together a feature on her blog here:

So then, a little more on each of the featured labels:

Top: Luna 1 (Mechta)
Launched in 1959 Luna 1 was the first Spacecraft to reach the vicinity of  The Moon and thus by doing so also become the first to fully achieve escape velocity from Earth.

2nd top: Sputnik 1
Launched in October 1957 the first man-made object in space was totally unanticipated in the West providing the spark the ignited the Space Race – Sputnik 1 spent 3 months in orbit emitting a radio signal for approx a third of that time.

3rd top: Sputnik 2 & Laika
Following on from Sputnik 1 came Sputnik 2, the second man-made object launched to earth orbit. This time carrying ‘Laika’ the first living animal to leave our biosphere and enter space, alas of course, never to return.

4th top: Solar Distances
The relative distances (in Kilometers)  of the Earth, Moon, and Sun. Aside from measuring distance in light years, another major cosmic measuring unit is AU (Astronomical Unit) each AU is relative to 149 598 000 kilometers. To put that in context the nearest star to our Solar System is the Red Dwarf Proxima Centuri which is roughly 4.2 Light Years away, that’s 268 000 AU or 40 Trillion, 92 Billion, 264 Million Km’s away, at least that’s what Wolfram Alpha Says.

5th top: Luna 2
Luna 2 launched Sept 12th was first space craft to reach the surface of the moon when it was purposely crash landed after 33 .5 hours of flight. Also noteworthy for confirming the existence of Solar Wind

Bottom: Radio Telescope
Caption reads “Radio Telescope” (cheers Uisgea / Lionel )

28 thoughts on “Russian Matchbox Labels

  1. Rui, this is an astonishing find! Ya gotta love love those post-modern graphics from the Russian masters! Thanks!
    BTW I am following you on Twitter.
    Great job.
    FeedMyDay is veeeery cool!
    You might want to check out Skyaak at
    Over and out, Rui,

    Cheers and TTYSoon,


  2. Excellent! All one has to do is get them perforated and dip them in acid!

  3. Cheers Micheal – yeah probably the best flickr set I’ve seen….. Digging the Skyaak BTW 😉

  4. Pingback: Фoto-inbox
  5. Stumbled here…

    I think number for actually says:
    Earth (Zemlya)
    The Moon (with the “L” missing from Luna)

  6. “Радиотелескопия” correct translation is “Radiotelescopy”.

  7. In 1959 my grandfather was on a union delegation
    To Russia. he returned with a collection given to him by a Russian friend. some are pretty revolution. Are these worth anything as they are gathering dust in my shed.

  8. I am collecting matchboxlabels, -skillets & -covers and have nearly 125,000 different from all over the world in my collection. Please feel free to take a look at a part of my worldwide collection on my private website.

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