Antique Cigarillo Cases
An Antique cigarillo case is a small container used to enclose and protect cigarillos.
History & Description
A cigarillo is a type of short and narrow cigar, which unlike a cigarette, is wrapped not in paper but in whole-leaf tobacco. While often sold individually, cigarillos are typically sold in small metal cases and, unlike cigarettes, are meant to be smoked like a cigar.
Cigarillos are usually sold in ornately decorated metal tins. While manufacturers explain that metal cases protect the cigarillos from being crushed or broken, perhaps the main aspect is that the cases offer a more efficient way of brand advertising.
Guide for collectors
Cigarillo cases are a popular collectible, particularly in the smoking paraphernalia community. They are collected for their aesthetic qualities as many cigarillo cases feature unique, decorative and sometimes humorous designs.
The majority of cigarillo cases sold at auction are made of tin and, at most, collectors can expect to pay around $400 - $500 for these. However, the most valuable examples of cigarillo cases are made of precious materials like silver, gold and jade.
Antique cigarillo cases are frequently sold at national auction houses. However, the most important and valuable examples of antique cigarillo cases are sold through international auctioneers, such as Christie’s and Sotheby’s.
Notable auction sales
On June 5th 2001 at Sotheby’s in London, a silver trompe l’oeil cigarillo box, made in Moscow, circa 1899, realised a price of £2,640.
On March 22nd 2001 at Sotheby’s in London, a white jade and enamel cigarillo case, made by Farmer, realised a price of £1,440.
On October 17th 1996 at Christie’s in New York, a jewelled two-colour gold cigarillo case, made by Fabergé, circa 1907, realised a price of $9,200.
On November 17th 1992 at Christie’s in Geneva, a jewelled gold cigarillo case, made by Ivan Acharov, St. Petersburg, circa 1880, realised a price of CHF1,650 ($1,134).