Frank Kelsey's Iconic Collection Includes Decades Of San Francisco Matchbooks (PHOTOS)

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FRANK KELSEY MATCHBOOKS
Frank Kelsey

Frank Kelsey is is on a historical bar crawl with more than 500 stops. He relives San Francisco's history through souvenirs from the city's iconic bars.

Kelsey has accumulated a collection of over 500 matchbooks from classic local bars. The establishments date back to the mid 20th century and range from gay bars to Fisherman's Wharf fish joints.

The East Bay native began collecting matchbooks about 12 years ago. His house in San Ramon is filled with memorabilia: jukeboxes, gum ball machines, old menus and ash trays. He describes the hobby as an addiction.

"You go looking for one things and it spreads like a disease," Kelsey told The Huffington Post.

He purchases the matchbooks primarily at flea markets and on Ebay. He is drawn to pieces with unique graphics and design elements.

And he doesn't have plans to sell his collection. He hopes his children will look after his treasured items in the future.

"It's nostalgia," Kelsey said. "It's nostalgia of better times."

Kelsey's collection of artifacts is documented on his Flickr account and in Uptown Almanac. Take a look at some of his favorite matchbooks and learn more about the stories behind some of San Francisco's most iconic bars below.

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