Between the breakup of the trust in 1911 and World War One, a dazzling new insert premium took the public’s fancy. OMAR, ZIRA, NEBO, EGYPTIENNE LUXORY, TURKISH TROPHIES and other more expensive “Oriental” blends of cigarettes began offering satin inserts depicting flags, dancing girls and other designs. Oriental and Indian rugs, a very few of which were actually woven silk, came next, followed by a dazzling array of other patterns.

Domestic animals, Breeds of dogs, Breeds of fowls, Birds, Butterflies, National arms, Military medals and orders, Fraternal order medals, Athletes with college seals, College flags and yells, College pennants, College seals, Yacht club pennants, National flags, Flag and arms, Flags with songs and flowers, Miniature flags, Flowers, Fruits, Bathing girls, Bathing beach girls, King girls, Flag girls of nations, State girls and flowers, Feminine types, Portraits of Indians, Scenes of Indian life, Actresses, Baseball players, Famous Queens, Generals, Presidents of the U.S., Rulers, Rulers with Arms,

Women of ancient Egypt, State seals, State flags, State maps, State flowers, City seals, Automobiles, Comics, Crests of hotels and restaurants, Mottoes and quotations, Hat bands, Postage stamps, Steamship pennants, and 13 series specific to Canada, including Animals, Medals and orders, Flowers, Cities, Regimental uniforms, Canadian history, and others.

    These were expensive to give away, costing American Tobacco company more than a quarter million dollars a year in the “real money” of 1914 when a loaf of bread cost less than a dime. As a result, silks-satins-rugs were seldom associated with low price brands. People who smoked the cheaper American blends were not deprived of these colorful marvels as they were all available in sets in exchange for coupons. Larger silks could be exchanged individually for coupons.

Prices weren’t cheap. One coupon came with each 5¢ tobacco item purchased at a United Cigar Store or other retailer carrying American Tobacco brands. Five 7” x 9” satins cost 90 coupons; one 10” x 12”  leather was 50. Any design given by an American Tobacco brand made by Anargyros (girls, ball players, flags, actresses, actors, college seals or mascots, generals, Indians) could be obtained through the mail as a card, satin, or leather, even behind glass with a choice of frame woods and styles.


Silks and Satins

A National Cigar Museum Exclusive

© Tony Hyman

Based on research and categorization by the editors of

THE WORLD TOBACCO INDEX published in five volumes

between 1956 and 1990, and J. R. Burdick’s

THE AMERICAN CARD CATALOG published in 1960.

Unless otherwise noted, all items pictured are in the NCM collection.

    Satins were shipped in sets, flat, with a piece

of cardboard between each one. They arrived in perfect condition but seldom stayed that way as they were mass cut, often slightly crooked, which encouraged fraying and unravelling. If you find one of these bundles, don’t untie it, as they are rare and very desirable in original “as shipped” condition.


   Satins other than flags are the most desirable. Some sets are very rare and  all should be handled carefully.

  To be collectible, satins should be flat, and neither creased nor unravelling.  Soil is deadly because these should never be washed.

   Satins tend to get creased and may be ironed carefully from the back, set on warm, with the appropriate type of cloth or paper between the iron and the satin.

Illustrated here larger than life, the woven silk rugs are the most sought after of all rugs.

At 150, College Seals are the largest set of satins other than flags.

   Breeds of Dogs and Indian Portraits and Scenes are two very sought after sets of 25.

   THE WORLD INDEX Volume I provides a list of what’s in each of the sets of satins. Later volumes add newly learned information.

    Difficult to read, but this small flyer describes more than 200 different images that can be obtained...on cards, 7” x 9” satins or leather. More info is in the Leather exhibit.

    Below is a small sample of the very popular size (2” x 3.25”) satins that came in a multitude of designs.


NCM Home        Premiums        Felts-Flannels        Leathers

If you have flannels or silks you’d like to donate or sell reasonably, I will photograph them and post the photos for public edification. I am most interested in obtaining ads from magazines or elsewhere

which offer flannels, satins or leathers as inserts of premiums...or a full pack with premium attached.

Questions, Comments or to Buy or Sell:  <>