A Brief History of the Cigar Box

With all due respect to bundles and bags, cigar boxes have become the preferred way to package premium cigars, and rightfully so. Not only does a sealed box assist in keeping cigars fresh, but the box itself has become a canvas that allows cigar makers to truly leave an impression. But how did they become so popular? Well, the best place to start is at the beginning.

Over the course of several laws enacted by President Lincoln in the early 1860’s, it became mandatory for cigars to be packaged in boxes. By 1865, cigar boxes were only permitted to hold bundles of 25, 50, 100, or 250. Even the materials of cigar boxes were regulated—only boxes made using wood and/or glass were permitted.

As time passed, the laws became more lax, and after a few years tin cigar boxes became somewhat common. By the 1880’s, cigar makers could use all sorts of materials for packaging, making for some very unique boxes. You can find cigar boxes made from aluminum, brass, and even china. Still, through all of this, wood has remained the favorite material for the job.

Cigar Boxes

Today, nailed wood boxes are some of the most common you can find and use to start a collection. They’re fashioned from just six pieces of wood fastened with—you guessed it—nails. If you’re looking for more valuable cigar boxes, you should look for ones made using more uncommon materials, as they’ve only become more rare.

Other sought-after styles include novelty cigar boxes, which were designed to act as more than cigar storage. Some double as jewelry boxes, some resemble a decorative knickknack, and others were made of cardboard with advertisements printed on them. Many of these novelty boxes can fetch a high price if you find the right collector, but more importantly: they just look cool.


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