More Thoughts on Early Cigar Box labels

My last post was on how the earliest cigar box labels began. Today, I would like to expound further on the limited need for cigar box labels between the 1850-1860’s time period. At that time the cigar industry was comprised of mostly small businesses in towns and cities. Cigars were mostly displayed in bundles with very few being in boxes. The small cigar makers who could afford printing a  label, turned to their local printing establishment.  At the time, large lithographic firms were few and only in a few major cities.  The labels of this period besides being of simple design were intended to advertise the brand of cigar as well as the quality. Cigar labels used terms like: “Habana”‘, “”Fabriac de Tobacco” and ” Vuelta anajo Tobacco”  to indicate the tobacco was of the finest Cuban  Tobacco.

I sometimes try to picture myself going back into time, walking into a tobacco store and smelling the fine aroma of cigars. Once I knew I enjoyed a particular cigar I probably would ask the brand name and where the Tobacco came from. You have to remember cigar smoking was a step up from tobacco chewing and pipe smoking. Cigar makers catered to a more upper class American society.  My guess is, it was a place for men of leisure to congregate  and talk about the politics of their time.

cigar gentlemen


The Earliest Cigar Box Labels

I was wondering today where to start talking about cigar box label art. Well, of course it has to be at the very beginning, right?  After a little internet research, and going to the local library here is what I found out.

The earliest cigar box labels can be traced back to the 1840’s. Images were actually in the form of top brand dies that burn’t a vey crude image into the top of the cigar box. Typically, during that time, most cigar smokers would go to their local goods emporium and ask for a good cigar rather then pick something out based on what was attractive advertising.

early cigar labels1early cigar labels2

Then in the 1850’s, copyrights were granted by the Federal government for the first printable cigar box labels in the U.S.   In the beginning,  printed labels were simple and usually drab in color.  But slowly, they started to catch on as a means of product identification.

Below is “El Dante” one of the first registered labels of the 1850’s.

eary cigar box label3

Cigar Box Label Blog

Cigar box labels are a  little known collectible. The cigar label blog is an attempt to provide as much knowledge as possible to whomever has an interest in this  early American art form. Since the early 1970’s a number of collectors have developed a passion for this lithographic art. Many are to the point where they are addicted to collecting these unusual works of printed art and will spend substantial amounts of money to acquire attractive vintage pieces. The cigar box label is one of the earliest forms of advertising in the U.S.  Vintage cigar labels are wonderful works of stone lithography, depicting the history of America. If you are a collector, investor, or interested in art this is a site you may be interested in.

Cigar Box Label – Matchless Beauty, Art, Americana, Investment

How often do you pay attention to your surroundings? Mentioning cigar box labels brings a big yawn to most people. Most think they have seen a cigar box label – usually visualizing a picture of a smiling lady and a man relaxing in an easy chair smoking a cigar. Most don’t care. In today’s world of media overload, homogeneous advertising, and every other thing vying for our senses most people don’t pay attention to detail. The cigar box label is just another run of  the mill, see it and forget it advertising.

Now, pay attention – ‘little snip it of American history, stone  lithography, unmatched beauty, unique, antique, collectible, investment’.  Are you a little more interested?   These are more accurate descriptions of cigar box labels. You still don’t believe me. Take a look:

Natures Wonders - Inner Cigar Box Label

Today, I decided to start a blog on this beautiful artwork and to make others aware of this unique american treasure.

In future blogs, I will be discussing everything from how they were made to where they stand today as collectible.

I hope you will enjoy the journey.