Page last updated at 13:08 GMT, Wednesday, 27 May 2009 14:08 UK

Your beer mat stories

With declining beer sales, closing pubs and a fall in advertising spending, the world's biggest beer mat producer is facing challenging times. BBC News website readers have been paying homage to the humble collector's item.

JAMES CUTHBERTSON, SUSSEX

Puzzle of beer mats
Mosaic style beer mats won an award

I work at the Dark Star brewery and this year we made some mosaic style beer mats.

Each one is part of a puzzle. Much to our surprise, we were awarded the title of beer mat of the year by the British Beer mat Collector's Society, so the pressure is on to find something equally quirky for next year.

TONY PEACH, TELFORD

beer mat with hockey player
This tribute to ice hockey player Harold Cotton cost Tony 30 USD on eBay

Beer mats were around a long time before 1892, the first patent being in Germany in the 1860s or 1870s.

I have collected beer since I was at school, over 40 years ago. If I heard of a new beer, I'd go to pubs in the local area to find the beer mat. More recently, the internet has provided new opportunities and I've been trading beer mats with American collectors on sites like eBay.

MATT VAUGHAN, MILTON KEYNES

Stamped beer mat used as a postcard
Matt Vaughan decided to make his beer mat travel in the post

Once, in a bar in Burgos in northern Spain, I wondered if beer mats could be sent through the post.

Five days later a beer stained, tattered beer mat was handed to my mum in England by a rather confused-looking postman.

I don't think there was space to write anything particularly moving, but given the state I was in, that's probably no bad thing.

RICHARD, LONDON

Photo: Richard, London
The hobby of comedians Morecambe and Wise was tegestology

Did you know the word for beer mat collectors is tegestologist?

Morecambe and Wise were once honorary presidents of the society, I have a beer mat from Watney's advertising Watney's Red on one side and and an invitation from Morecambe and Wise to join the society of tegestologists on the other.


STEVE JONES, OSAKA, JAPAN

My dad was a sales-rep doing business at pubs and clubs throughout South Wales.

I started collecting before I could drink. I still have over 1,000 somewhere in a trunk. I have too many favourites to mention, from Welsh castles to ones shaped like puzzle pieces.

Undoubtedly my most treasured is the Babycham one with a long-legged girl on it. Taken from a pub in 1947 when my dad proposed to my mum.

LUCAS TATEK, HERTFORDSHIRE

I have a collection of Czech beer mats that go back to communist times.

Some are over 30 years old. I have them framed in the loo as cultural icons. Don't care for the garish modern designs. Oh yeah, and I do drink the stuff too!



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