COLLECTIONS

CIGARETTE PACKETS

MORE PACKETS

HOW IT BEGAN

I saw an old Players Navy Cut packet for sale on an antique stall in the early 90's and decided to buy it because it had been a familiar design in my childhood. My father smoked Gold Flake when I was very young and I found the pack brightly attractive in those colourless post-war days. I saw one in a collectors shop in St Ives a couple of years later and bought it together with some other old packs they had in stock. In the same town in another shop I found an old wallpaper sample book that had been used as an album for packet fronts. I bought it, soaked them off, and reorganised them in a new file. So, even though I have never been a smoker, a new collection began. The attractions were the design techniques involved and, as with my other collections, how the packets changed over the years. I also collect related items such as branded ashtrays. 

In 1997 I joined the Cigarette Packet Collectors Club of Great Britain which has quarterly auctions and meets twice a year. Through the Club I have been able to build up a large collection at a reasonable cost. Some early C20th packets can sell for well over 100 but they are of little interest to me. I prefer ones from about 1930 up to the 1970's. I acquired hundreds of flip-tops for next-to-nothing because ten years ago they were of little interest to most collectors.  My favourite pack is the du Maurier shown on the left. Introduced in 1928, it has a deco style and simplicity that was never improved upon in later versions- see top right.