How to Determine the Age of a Cigar Box Label

In my dealings with people that are new to cigar box labels, someone always asks the question “How can I determine the age of a cigar box label? ” Many people assume cigar box labels are newer than they really are. Most of the surviving cigar box labels are older then 100 years, and they still look in great shape. For this reason alone many would be buyers may pass up a good deal.  However, if you know what to look for it’s not all that hard to determine age. Here are four ways to help determine a cigar box labels age:

1. Is the Cigar Box Label a stone lithograph?

The majority of Stone Lithographs were created between 1864 and 1910. All Cigar Box Labels created from a stone have a distinctive look. The colors are bright and crisp and when viewed under a magnifying glass they have a distinctive stipple pattern.

2. Is the label embossed?

Embossing are raised areas on the cigar label, caused by presses. Embossing was used after 1884 to high-lite gold coins, clothes, and structural features. If the cigar box label is embossed it was created after 1884.

3. Is there a copyright date below the image?

The copyright date is the year the cigar box label was copyrighted with the government. This is the best indication of how old it is.

4.  Is there a lithographers name underneath the image?

Most cigar labels carry the lithographers name in small letters below the image. Below are some better known lithographers and the dates they were in business.

1849 – 1873 F. Heppenheimer
1873-1885 Heppenheimer & mauer
1885-1892 F. Heppenheimer & sons
1847-1872 George Harris
1873-1880 George Harris & sons
1861-1970 Calvert Lithographic Co.
1892- 1930 American Lithographic
1892-1900 O. L. Schwencke
1874-1915 Schmitt & Co.
1916-1926 George Schmidt & Co.
1841-1851 George Schlegel 75 John Street
1851-1870 George Schlegel 75-77 Duane St
1870-1879 George Schlegel 676 Williams St
1880-1919 George Schlegel Art Lithographers
1897-1970 F.M. Howell & Co.


3 Responses to “How to Determine the Age of a Cigar Box Label”

  1. Vaughn Says:

    I have an original stone lithograph cigar box label that was printed in the late 1800’s it has bronzing and embossing and multi colors. It representsthe Weideman Co. Distributors of Cleveland Ohio….Founded in 1861.

    Would anyone have any idea of the value of this piece. It is in pristine condition.


  2. K Coonen Says:

    We have an un-dated “Little Diamond” brand Cuban cigar box with Penn. tax stamps and a Moehle Litho, Brooklyn NY label of a drummer girl in the apparent setting of the Spanish American war, dating it post 1898.
    I seek confirmation that others have seen this label, and a value, on the box in very good condition.

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