by Penny Westbrook
Contributing research: Cindy Reece
Despite the ongoing controversy of tobacco items in today’s society, they still remain a favorite among many collectors. Whatever your stand on the subject, Tobacco memorabilia is admired by collectors for its creativity and beauty.
Tobacciana is a challenging and rewarding hobby. From the novice to the more seasoned
collector, Tobacciana provides something for everyone. Many collectors choose to collect
by subject or may strictly collect a specific item. Collecting can include a variety of
tobacco and smoking related items/products. Some of these favorites include media
advertisements, posters, cigar labels/bands, silk tobacco labels, pouches, tins, signs,
lighters, pipes, and boxes/containers, etc. When collecting don’t overlook paper
items such as stocks, certificates, tax revenues, cigarette cards, and tags. The
list seems endless of all the pieces of tobacco memorabilia.
Since the first tobacco advertisements appeared around 1789, they have always appealed to the consumer. Attractive print ads have graced many billboards and magazines often being referred to as “The Great Seduction…with values”. These have become some of the most sought after pieces in the collectible market. Though many of these are still affordable, some older pieces in excellent condition can cost a collector hundreds of dollars.
Collectors worldwide enjoy collecting Cigarette or Tobacco cards, also known as Cartophily. The cigarette card was introduced as a packet stiffener to help strengthen the paper packaging. They would usually feature a picture on one side and product information on the other. In the late 1800s, due to many of the tobacco users being sailors these cards feature nautical themes. These mini advertisements range in different topics and contain many cards to a specific series. Cards may feature movie stars, ships, aircraft, motor cars, sports, animals, Victorian ladies, flowers, etc. Cards produced before World War II are believed to be of higher quality. Even today new discoveries are found, continually changing the history of these cards. Studying tobacco cards before buying is essential for the novice, for many reproductions appear in today’s market.
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