Antique and vintage Cigarette Cases



2015-06-26 11:14:38

Antique and vintage Cigarette Cases are collectible cigarette cases made from a variety of materials.

History and description

The cigarette case is a portable, compact container made specifically to hold and protect hand rolled cigarettes. The first hand rolled cigarettes were sold at the beginning of 19th century. In the late 19th century, cigarette cases were made from sterling silver, metal or gold, being decorated by various symbols and stones, and so represented the social status of the owner. Sometimes, cigarette cases were designed to fit in the pocket.

Guide for collectors

Various museums worldwide contain various kinds of cigarette cases from various periods. For example: Imperial War Museum in London – include rectangular cigarette case made by Italian prisoner in 1940's, metal cigarette case made by a prisoner during the Second World War and cigarette case and lighter engraved with a map of the British zone of occupied Germany.

  • Xawery Dunikowski Museum, Department of the State, Warsaw, Poland – includes Cigarette-case with dedications for Stanisław Bielański, actor from Warsaw;
  • National Maritime Museum, Greenwich, UK – contains a plain gold cigarette case owned by Stanislas Niewiarowski, silver cigarette case with a coloured painting made in 1915, and gold cigarette case presented in 1917 to admiral Sir Guy Reginald Arthur Gaunt;
  • The Powerhouse Museum in Sydney, Australia – includes a cigarette case rectangular in shape made by unknown maker (probably in 1886) from horn and decorated with gold filigree, brown marbled bakelite cigarette case made probably in 1932 and cigarette case made by Parker Pipe Co Ltd; England in between 1932 and1960.

The most valuable cigarette cases were made by August Holmstrom, Gabriel Niukkane, Tiffany & Co., Peter Carl Fabergé, George Unite & Sons and Noel Hardvilliers.

There are several tips how to buy and recognize original antique cigarette cases: find antique stores that specialize antique cigarette cases, look for a stamp or brand on the piece and look for identifying marks around the back and edges (for example, marks of sterling silver cases include 925 and of nickel silver EPNS).

It is recommended to use a soft cloth and a fine metal polish to keep the cases looking good.

Notable auction sales

On 30, November 2009, a Fabergé imperial enamel cigarette case with jewelled gold mounts made by Michael Perchin was sold for £577,250 at Sotheby’s auction in London, UK. Further sales include:

  • a Russian jewelled and gold mounts nephrite cigarette case made by Henrik Wigstrom (sold for £90,000 on 24 – 25, January 2007 at Christie’s auction in London, UK);
  • a Fabergé imperial enamel cigarette case with jewelled gold mounts (made by August Holmström and sold for £612,450 at Sotheby’s auction in London, UK);
  • an imperial enamel presentation cigarette case (made by August Hollming and sold for CHF36,800 ($24,574) on 17, November 1993 at Christie’s auction in Geneva, Switzerland);
  • a lacquered gold cigarette case - The 25th Wedding Anniversary (sold for £49,250 on 8, June 2010 at Christie’s auction in London, UK);
  • a multicolored cigarette case (made by Gabriel Niukkanen and sold for £13,200 on 24 – 25, January 2007 at Christie’s auction in London, UK)
  • a Tabatiere En Or De Quatre Couleurs (made by Noel Hardvilliers in 1760 - 1761 and sold for €217,000 on 23 - 25 February, 2009 at Christie’s auction in Paris, France)
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