Now I know all of you are all like me and can start a fire rubbing two sticks together with one hand tied behind you. However most people don’t have this ability and depend on matches. Now matches are inexpensive and often available for free. Many businesses still give away free matchbooks.
In a real emergency where fires are used for heat and cooking, most people will run out of matches in a short period of time. Since they are unprepared and untrained in alternate fire starting methods, they will want matches. This makes matches a good item to stock for trade. Matches are simple to store, just keep them dry and they don’t take up a lot of room. I have stored matches in military ammo cans and sealed in #10 cans. Just add a bit of desiccant and you are good to go.
Now strike anywhere matches are your best choice, but any matches are better than none. I have both kinds stored.
Most people do not know that some matches have a shelf life. Trinidad Match Limited lists the shelf life of their safety matches as 3 years (not sure I believe it). I spoke to a representative of Jarden Home Brands, the manufacturer of the Diamond Strike Anywhere Matches. Their representative stated that their matches do not have a shelf life, but if kept dry would last indefinitely.
In an emergency matches will have a high trade value and be very much in demand.