TOBACCIANA, as the Yanks call it!
Research dates the practice of tobacco smoking to as early as 5000 to 3000BC by the natives in The Americas. Tobacco was introduced to EUR-ASIA in the late 17th century where it followed the new trade routes.
The practice encountered criticism from its first import into the Western world onwards, but embedded itself in certain strata of a number of societies before becoming widespread upon the introduction of automated cigarette rolling machines. As of 2008 to 2010, tobacco was being used by about 3 billion people worldwide, with about 80% of this usage in the form of smoking.
Taking the USA Statistics, in 1939 53% of adult Americans smoked. By 1964, 90 million Americans used some type of tobacco product and by 1970 the overall percentage of adults smoking had dropped to 37.4%. Since the mid-1960's with the proven cancer connection and political actions against the practice, rates of consumption in the developed world have either peaked or declined, but with the tobacco companies targeting the developing world, consumption has continued to increase.
The advertising, promotion, and the paraphernalia associated with the use of tobacco products is a really interesting area in which to build a collection, and, of course, as tobacco usage eventually disappears, it is likely that such items will increase in price making them a good investment for the future.
The types of items are wide and varied (refer to pics below) and include tobacco and cigarette tins/packets, vesta (match) holders, pipes and cigarette holders, match boxes and lighters, advertising and promotional materials, cigar and tobacco cutters, snuff boxes and so on. As the selection is so broad it may of course pay to 'specialise' your collection into just one or two areas only.
Bernard Molloy, Molloy's of Milford Antiques Centre Ltd, 2-162 Kitchener Road, Milford 09 488 7326
Channel Magazine: Issuu 52 March 2015