Wednesday, July 6, 2011
Sporting Cigarette Silks
Long before Don Draper was shagging every wench he saw and pimping Lucky Strikes to the masses, Tobacco Companies were employing tricks and premiums to encourage purchase of their smokes over those of the competition. Around the turn of the century...the last one....Cigarette companies offered "silks" featuring various themes. Each theme was usually a series...such as the college athletes from Cornell, Navy and Lehigh noted above. You can see the print add now: "Buy Acme Brand cigarettes and complete your athletic series before your friends!"
These items are becoming more and more rare and are quite sought after by collectors. I have found a few when scavenging around flea markets and antique shows. I was particularly excited to find the Lehigh Cricketeer...though I never saw any cricket going on up in Bethlehem when I was there mid 80's or even heard that it was played back when my Great Uncle was there early '30's.
These silks make a nice conversation piece when framed and displayed...essentially turn of the century baseball cards for grownups and University sports.