One of the most popular items I sell are cigarette cases. If you’d told me when I first started my shop I’d be selling a wide range of cigarette cases I’d have been really surprised! Particularly as less people smoke and many people use e-cigarettes instead nowadays. But it’s one of those regular items people buy.
In the late 1800s and early 20th Century snuff went out of fashion and smoking became more popular. Consequently cigarette cases were made and often given as presents, particularly ones made from Sterling Silver with engraved messages on them. Some were given to people when they were going off to fight in the 1st World War. Reading the inscriptions you realise what a special gift the cases must’ve been.
Many of the earlier cigarette cases were made of Sterling Silver or Silver Plate, however by the 1950s it became more common for cigarette cases to be made of chrome, leather or other materials.
Before the 1950s cigarettes were a lot smaller than today’s regular or king size cigarette. It was only really from the 1950s cases were being made that would fit cigarettes you are able to buy today.
Most of the cases I sell aren’t bought for cigarettes any more. Some are used as business or credit card cases, but a lot of the pre 1940 cases aren’t big enough to hold standard size cards.
Many of the smaller cases are bought to use as trinket or jewellery cases. They are given as pretty gifts to store special items in.
So if you see a vintage cigarette case they have many uses and quite often a lot of history.