Misleading Dates

1880 - 1887 - 1912

A National Cigar Museum Exclusive

© Tony Hyman


1880 is not 1880

        All Cigar Maker’s Union stamps issued from 1888 to 1974 have “SEPT 1880” at top center to commemorate the first

CMIU issue. 1880 is NOT the date of your box.

        CMIU stamps can be very handy for dating a cigar box. The word COOLY used 1880-1886, spelled COOLIE 1886-1894.

A red serial number means 1905 or later. Signed by Perkins 1892-1926.  See Dating with CMIU stamps for more detail.

1887 is not 1887

        Around 1910, as a promotion, Tampa cigarmakers began adding the city seal and clerk’s signature to the bottom of Tampa cigar boxes, copying a practice that began in the 1890’s in Key West. The city seal contains the date 1887. It is the date Tampa was founded, not the date of your box. For nearly a century most Tampa boxes have that seal and date.

        Henderson’s signature was used for about 40 years. If the box is signed by anyone other than Henderson, it dates after 1950. The bottom at left is typical of 1910 to 1950. 

1912 is not 1912

        For almost a century every box of cigars exported from Cuba has a green Guarantee stamp dated “Julio 16 / 1912.”  That stamp has changed little over the years. In 1924 French, English and German text was added to the top and bottom of the stamp. The warranty stamp and wording was changed again in the early 1960’s when President Fidel Castro ordered less costly paper, ink and printing resulting in a light green or olive color stamp printed on white paper. Some time during the Castro administration, the foreign text was changed in the top line and both lines at the bottom. Red serial numbers are added at the bottom center in early 2000’s.

       More information on Cuban Warranty stamps is available.

See Dating Cuban Boxes.

If you have questions about dating

        More information on dating is available. Hyman’s National Cigar Museum contains a complete guide to dating cigar boxes from the U.S., Canada and Cuba.  200+ photos provide the world’s most complete guide to dating boxes from the collectable century (1860-1960).  Links are available below.

You can always have complete dating information by ordering the Complete Guide to Dating Cigar Boxes on CD for $20.  Write <tony@cigarhistory.info> for more information.

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