CARS AND CIGARS: A Match Made in Heaven When it Comes to Collecting


Written by Barbara Toombs


Anything related to tobacco companies and their products is known as “tobacciana,” and cigar collectibles – like this cigar display case that sold at the 2021 Las Vegas Auction – are hot properties in that category.


Beautiful detail on a bronze art deco cigar ashtray from the 1920s, which sold for $5,750 at the 2021 Scottsdale Auction.

The term “man cave” was coined in the early 1990s, referring to a male’s “place of solitude” or the “last bastion of masculinity.” Whether a garage, a basement or a dedicated room in one’s home, the man cave remains a space where a man can be alone, indulge in hobbies or just hang out with male friends.

It’s no surprise that many items offered during Barrett-Jackson Automobilia Auctions find their way into the décor of these male-centric spaces, from vintage gas pumps and neon porcelain car dealership signs to nostalgic soda memorabilia and antique toys.

This cigar vending machine from the 1930s-40s sold for $4,600 at the 2021 Las Vegas Auction.

It is a natural assumption that the occasional fine cigar might be enjoyed in such spaces as well, especially when you consider the rise in popularity of cigar lounges and “Cars & Cigars” events around the country in recent years. And that perhaps would explain the increasing interest in cigar collectibles on the automobilia stage, providing the perfect ornamentation for any cigar aficionado’s domain – whether male or female!

Historians generally believe the cigar was invented by the ancient Mayans, who would wrap the tobacco in a palm or plaintain leaf and smoke it; an ancient Mayan pot from the 10th century depicts a man puffing on one of these very early cigars. Synonymous with premium cigars, Cuba – with its fertile land and warm climate – become a very popular location to grow tobacco plants; sailing ships distributed Cuban tobacco from Europe to Asia. Later, Tampa, Florida, became a cigar hotspot, with many Cuban cigar-makers migrating there.

The cigar industry saw its biggest growth after the Civil War. At the industry’s peak, 40,000 cigar factories operated in the United States.

Cigars continued to grow in popularity all over the world, with the U.S. consuming approximately 300 million cigars by the middle of the 19th century. The cigar became a status symbol and a part of popular culture, with a lot of well-known names picking up the habit, from King Edward VII, Ulysses S. Grant and Sigmund Freud to Arnold Schwarzenegger and Michael Jordan.

In the collector world, anything related to tobacco companies and their products is known as “tobacciana,” and cigar collectibles are hot properties in that category. And we’re not just talking the proverbial cigar store wooden Indian here, either (although one of those, from the 1930s, sold for $1,150 on the Barrett-Jackson block at the 2017 Scottsdale Auction).

This unusual smoke fan cigar ashtray from the 1930s brought in $4,025 at the 2018 Scottsdale Auction.

Highly sought-after cigar collectibles also include vintage cigar boxes to cutters, ashtrays, holders and more.Some prime examples of fine cigar collectibles that have sold on the Barrett-Jackson auction block include a magnificent art deco bronze rotating cigar ashtray, which brought the gavel down at the 2021 Scottsdale Auction in March and went to its new home for $5,570. At the recently completed Las Vegas Auction in June 2021, a unique cigar vending machine from the 1930s-40s brought in $4,600, while an unusual 1930s cigar store smoke fan ashtray sold for $4,025 at the 2018 Scottsdale Auction. During the 2018 Northeast Auction in Connecticut, a rare electric countertop cigar lighter from the early 1930s brought in $2,875.

Smoke ’em if you got ’em! Keep your eyes peeled for more of these unique cigar collectibles and many other authentic items that will be offered during the Automobilia Auction each morning at the inaugural 2021 Houston Auction, September 16-18 at the NRG Center.

For a look at automobilia items headed to the 2021 Houston Auction, click HERE.

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By: Barrett-Jackson
Title: CARS AND CIGARS: A Match Made in Heaven When it Comes to Collecting
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Published Date: Thu, 09 Sep 2021 19:44:54 +0000

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