Antique cigar boxes
Antique cigar boxes are boxes designed to contain caches of cigars. Antique cigar boxes are most commonly made from wood.
Cigar boxes are designed to keep cigars fresh, helping them to maintain their flavour over a long period of time. Antique cigar boxes are most commonly constructed out of wood, however, gold and silver cigar boxes were also manufactured, often on commission and to a smoker's individual specifications.
Collecting cigar boxes dates back to the time at which cigar boxes began to be mass produced during the mid-nineteenth century. Cigar box labels can often be found in Victorian scrapbooks since they exhibit elements of artful design and intricate detailing which appealed to adults and children alike. Large numbers of antique cigar boxes are occasionally discovered at disused factory sites and in the storage areas of long-established shops. More commonly, collectors visit thrift and antique stores, auctions and auction websites, and garage and car-boot sales on the hunt for antique cigar boxes.
For more information on antique cigar labels: Antique cigar labels
Pre-Civil War cigar boxes
Prior to the American Civil War, cigars were generally shipped in large boxes and barrels. The loose cigars were then tied into bundles of 50 with a length of ribbon and sold on to retailers. Such cigar bundles became the basis for the 50 count cigar box, initially referred to in the trade as the "bundle box". Pre-Civil War cigar boxes are highly coveted amongst collectors and can achieve large sums at auction. Unconventional boxes, particularly square boxes (into which cigars were inserted vertically rather than horizontally), are particularly prized among seasoned collectors.
How collectible or valuable an antique cigar box is depends upon a number of factors. These include the material the box is made from, whether or not the antique cigar box had any notable (cigar smoking) owners, the condition of the box and the condition of the label on the box, the rarity of the box or image on the box, age, and country of origin.
Popular, collectible images include cowboys and Indians, nudes, animals, sporting iconography and well known sports personalities, such as Jack Norworth.
If you happen to buying antique cigar boxes on the basis of their monetary worth, avoid boxes that show any signs of mould, water damage or significant scuffing or chipping. Examine labels for peeling, tearing and fading, and inspect the underside of boxes for manufacturers marks as these can make cigar boxes more collectible.
Other cigar collectibles
- antique cigar box labels
- antique and novel cigar cutters
- vintage and antique cigarette lighters
- antique cigar jars
Although many collectors do not acquire antique cigar boxes on the basis of their monetary worth, appreciating them instead as aesthetically pleasing and often artistically decorated objects, valuable examples do occasionally come to market.
An English antique cigar case made from varnished ash was sold along with an ash tea caddy and three other antique ash boxes for $1,800 in June 2005 by Neal Auction Company.
A sterling silver cigar box engraved with a map of Cuba and thought to date from 1967-68 was sold for $3,300 in February 2012 by Bill Hodd & Sons - a price far exceeding the value of the silver.
A Russian antique cigar box made from sterling silver and decorated with a hand painted image of horse drawn carriage was sold for $1,200 in December 2010 by Bruce Kodner galleries.
A 1920s Jack Norworth wooden cigar box made was sold for $450 in May 2012 by Heritage auctions.
A beech and teak cigar box designed by David Joel, the inside cover framing a handwritten speech by Winston Churchill, was sold at Christie's for $745 in October 1992.
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