NRA Eagle Stickers

A National Cigar Museum Exclusive

© Tony Hyman

The National Recovery Administration (NRA) was a federal agency set up under the National Industrial Recovery Act passed by congress in June, 1933, the heart of the great depression. President Franklin Delano Roosevelt saw the Act as an important step in his efforts to lead the country out of the worst economic downturn in history. The purpose of the Act was to relieve industrial unemployment by shortening the work day, increasing wages and eliminating unfair trade practices. The Act gave the Agency too much power to make its own regulations according to the Supreme Court which ruled it unconstitutional in 1935. “Congress cannot delegate legislative power,” they said.  Without the power to make rules, it became toothless and was shut down at the end of 1935. Any box depicting the NRA Blue Eagle dates between mid 1933 and mid 1935.

The Blue Eagle was the NRA symbol that a company had agreed to the Act’s rules and codes of conduct for their industry.

The orange stamp was another affirmation of support of the NRA, and was issued in a variety of forms and denominations. Few cigar boxes display both; most display the Blue Eagle inside, either printed or on a sticker.


   “Received a letter from General Cigar Company in which they said they joined the N.R.A. and requested us to notify them how many N.R.A. stickers we would need for boxes in our stock. We have advised them. We need to get additional stickers to add to our letterhead, to use in our correspondence.” 

Reid Tobacco (Wholesale) Co., letter, 1933

    BONUS TIP:  Whenever you see a price change (especially “now 5¢” or “now 2 for 5¢”) think 1930’s.

Cigar companies supporting the principles of the NRA printed the symbolic blue eagle on their labels or used stickers supplied by the Government. The eagle printed on the front of the box was less common.  Both boxes also sport orange NRA stamps along with their tax stamps.

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