Q: In our grandfather's attic, we found dozens of old cigar boxes and would like to know how to find out if they have any value. Is there a market for such boxes or a cigar box collector we can contact?
A: The value of a cigar box depends on its age, brand name of cigars, size, whether the box or container has an unusual shape, the theme or subject matter of the label, historical factors if any, condition, completeness and rarity.
Cigar industry historian Tony Hyman has collected cigar boxes for 40 years and has more than 4,000. Mr. Hyman wrote the only book on the subject, "Handbook of American Cigar Boxes," which includes a price guide as well as illustrations and descriptions of cigar boxes. It is available for $23.95 postpaid from Box 699, Claremont, Calif. 91711. He also offers, free, an illustrated brochure, "Wanted Cigar Boxes," listing the types of box and related items he seeks, for which he will pay $5 to $5,000. To get the brochure, send an addressed, stamped business-size envelope. It also tells how to date cigar boxes and how to get them appraised free. You may phone Mr. Hyman at (714) 621-5952 between 11 a.m. and 2 p.m., California time.
Desirable cigar boxes along with their descriptions and the prices they fetched at auction are included in Mr. Hyman's catalog, "The World of Smoking and Tobacco." It's available for $33 postpaid. Among the cigar boxes pictured in the catalog is a pair of boxes from the 1888 election campaign, one of which depicts Harrison and Morton (the Republican winners of the election) and the other Cleveland and Thurman (the losing Democrats).
Anita Gold can be reached by writing Anita Gold, Maryland Living, The Sun, Baltimore 21278. Selected questions will appear in her column. The volume of mail makes individual replies impossible. When writing sources listed in this column, enclose an addressed, stamped envelope for replies.