Recently Tabanero unveiled our newest box to package our hand made cigars. The new box got us thinking about old cigar boxes. There is just something about them that goes beyond being a container for cigars. I remember that my grandparents had cigar boxes in various drawers throughout their house. Maybe it was the artwork or possibly the intrigue of discovering what was in a box, whichever the reason, the cigar box had mystique that was beguiling.
The Story Behind Boxes
As a kid I emulated my grandparents and had a used cigar box that held my greatest treasures. I can’t remember all of them but I know there was an arrow head, a couple of baseball cards of my favorite players, and a harmonica. I totally cannot explain the harmonica, but I remember there was one in the box.
Those cigar boxes of the past are the prize of the collectors of the present. Everything that is sold has a package, so why are cigar boxes special? I suppose it began, well at the start, which was 1865 when President Lincoln put the final touches on the legislation that required all cigars be sold in boxes. The cigar artisans do what they always do: they adapted and turned a negative into a positive. In this case, they turned the box requirement into a marketing opportunity. The art of the cigar box was born!
Here is one of the iconic pieces of cigar box art:
How We See Cigar Boxes
I believe that our current logo is an homage to the classic elements seen in this painting: the man standing for the integrity of his cigar, the land that produced it which represents their heritage, the home representing his family, and the seals that authenticate the cigars. It is tradition and we hope that our art reflects those things that we too value.
The art of the box and the art on the box make it valuable as a collector’s item. But people have also found other uses for them. One of the most famous is the cigar box guitar. The legend tells that many musicians in the late 1800s could not afford to buy factory made instruments so they made their own. Broom sticks, discarded boxes, bolts and wires were transformed into fiddles and guitars. The cigar box became the favorite to make the body and a classic was born. The oldest known sketch of a cigar box instrument depicts two Civil War soldiers at playing at camp.
Although it mostly done for nostalgia, the cigar box is still used as an instrument today. Here is a video of Paul McCartney using a cigar box guitar at a Nirvana reunion.
We hoped you enjoyed that and invite you to come down to Tabanero Cigars to see our new cigar boxes.