Many of the cigar label collectors in the United States are just not that interested in collecting vintage European Labels. I’m not sure if this is due to them having a bias for buying American or because many of the European cigar label images do not appeal to American tastes. It is somewhat unfortunate because most of the European labels were made with high quality standards, and most today are rare (Exist in quantities of less then 500).
European Lithographers were world renown for their high quality standards and the use of leading edge technology. This can best be seen in the cigar label ‘Honor Et Patria’, a Monument to victor Emmanual in Rome. Unfortunately, the liberal use of Gold leaf, and heavy embossing actually make European Labels look a bit gaudy to an American collector.
How can you tell a European label if you see one?
Many of the European cigar labels don’t have titles written on the label. Information about the label title, lithographer, and price were usually attached on the left hand site. The title would come attached to a set of labels that would go onto a cigar box. Inside Label, Outside label, Lock label, Fly label , were the European equivalent for the U.S. Inner, Outer, nail tag, etc.
In addition, To help identify a European cigar label a Dep# was usually placed just below the image. Dep# was short for depose # used to catalogue their labels by number.
It is also not widely known that many European labels had American themes and were created for the U.S. Market. Eighty percent of labels that were produced for the U.S. and Cuba came from European lithographers. Three German lithographers: Klingenberg , Moeller –Kokeritz and Herman Scott maintained New York offices between 1900-1914. Between 1918 and 1939 many of the U.S. lithographery companies subcontracted their labels to German Lithographers. A.C. Henschel of Chicago or C.B. Henschel of Milwaukee used Klinenberg and others in Europe.
Many brands were created only for the European marketer. Brans the European cigar manufacturers promoted were not for the American smoker. Cigar Labels images were mostly European themes which did not appeal to the American Tastes. A few examples of European labels include: ‘ ‘Honor Et Patriot’ -a monument to victor Emmanual in Rome, ‘Radius ‘ – a volcano blowing its top , ‘Dick Cop’ – a tiny man carrying a big cigar and Aeroplane – a flying cigar.