CHANCELLOR is one of the hundreds of cigar brands gobbled up by the Tobacco Trust and assigned to The American Tobacco Company in 1911 when the trust was dissolved and its assets redistributed. The Trust, American Tobacco, and subsidiaries were the major players in the give-away-premiums war (1880-1940), participating in large measure through United Cigar Store coupons.

    I recently obtained a collection of coupons I had never seen before called “Chancellor Liberty Certificates” issued by American Cigar Company at the beginning of the Great Depression of the 1930s.

    These are apparently fairly rare as I have seen them only once since I began collecting seriously in 1952. They are unusual in a number of ways. They appear to have been a fairly short-lived promotion, perhaps in part thanks to the unusual method of distribution, folded into four lengthwise, then tucked under the band of each cigar.

    Anyone who’se worked with asny kind of new automation knows wastage can be high at first in bands and cigars was terrrible at first.The most striking feature is the variety, as each coupon carries a numbered Reminder and photograph of a different prize:
silverware, tea sets, books, shaving sets, vases, clocks, flashlights, knives, pots, serving dishes, brushes, combs and more.

    “Liberty”does not refer to either World War, tempting as it may be to make that connection. It is merely the name (frontmark/vitola) chosen for that particular size of cigar marketed by that division of American Cigar Co.


        CHANCELLOR Liberty machine-made cigars cost a dime and outsold the brand’s Panatelas at 3/25¢, Sublimes at 2/25¢, foil-wrapped Invincible at 2/25¢ and foil-wrapped Conqueror at 15¢. Whether Chancellor Liberty certificates were given with all the brand’s sizes and shapes is unknown.

        Please excuse the dull quality of the photos below. I considered the work-to- value-to-importance ratio and decided this exhibit was not of sufficient importance to justify spending Mona Lisa amounts of time on it. It took two hours to photograph them, about 1/3 of the normal photo time thanks to the simple expediency of not removing each coupon from its plastic protector sleeve in which they are inserted back to back and tightly  cropping as I went. Hence the dullness. Once shot I saved many more hours by not cropping, color correcting or making other adjustments to each picture (like I did to those seen above).

        Double-click on the first photo in the gallery and you will be put in slideshow mode wherein the pictures are both larger and easier to read.


Chancellor Cigar Coupons

Historical Note

A Cigar History Museum Exclusive 

Text & Images © Tony Hyman, All rights reserved

Uploaded  November 3, 2012