Dating an old cigar box

27-Jan-2018 08:24 by 2 Comments

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Hyman can be reached via his museum’s website, which is a member of our Hall of Fame.

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You could work hard at an event like Brimfield for five days and only come away with two or three items.

If you go to the history departments at Harvard or Yale, you’ll find these marvelous people who study the history of women, the history of politics—all this big stuff.

But they don’t care much about the history of glass, the history of book matches, the history of yo-yos, the history of French dolls, or the sorts of things that fascinate collectors.

I think collectors make an important contribution to social history because they are the preservers of that history.

A lot less would be known about the history of dolls if it weren’t for doll collectors.

My goal is to understand the comprehensive history of my field.

Collectors who do that make a major historical contribution.

When I started in 1952, there were only three books on cigars in English. So my collection, out of necessity, spread to other categories—billheads, catalogues, correspondence, ledgers, photographs, trade cards, and those kinds of things.

Only by learning about them could I piece together the history of the cigar industry as a whole.

Nonetheless, more than 90 percent of what’s posted belongs to me. When I enlisted in the Navy at the age of 17, I already had 2,300 items in my collection. I was trying to answer to the question, “How many different cigar boxes are there? For example, one thing I’ve learned is that that wasn’t necessarily the best question to ask.

I label the pieces and note in an item’s description if I don’t own it. But it was a fundamental question that has led me down many interesting paths allowing me to learn more about the industry.

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