Tag Archives: tobacciana

Antique Princess Mary 1914 Brass Cigarette Tin with Cigarettes & Tobacco

11 May

queen mary cigarette boxqueen mary cig box with cigs









I have already sold this item on ebay, but I wanted to showcase it here as it was a really unique and wonderful item and had survived 100 years in remarkable condition.

Antique Brass Cigarette/Tobacco Tin, given to the troops by Princess Mary as a gift for Christmas during World War I in 1914.   Tin measures 5″ long x 3 1/2″ wide x 1 1/8″ high.
If the soldier didn’t smoke, the same tins containing chocolate or candy or other small items were given instead of tobacco.

Embossed with the following on the lid: Princess Mary’s silhouette surrounded by Laurel Leaves and the letters M on either side; Christmas 1914, Imperium Britannicum, Russia, France, Belgium, Japan, Servia, and Monte Negro.

The tin contained the original packs of Tobacco, Cigarettes and the presentation card from Her Royal Highness Princess Mary wishing Best Wishes for a Happy Christmas and Victorious New Year, Christmas Fund 1914. The cigarette pack was opened with 19 cigarettes remaining in the pack.  Each cigarette has a Princess Mary logo on the paper.  The package of tobacco was unopened.

Recently on TV, on a documentary about the Coast of Scotland, my ears perked up when I heard the commentator mention  a brass cigarette tin from Princess Mary that survived a shipwreck off the coast of Scotland at the end of the first world war.  The tin was identical to the one in the above photo and it was all the woman had to remember her husband by after the shipwreck.  His body was never recovered.

The following is from Wikipedia:

The Iolaire was carrying sailors who had fought in the First World War back to the Scottish island of Lewis. She left the port of Kyle of Lochalsh on the mainland late on the evening of the 31 December 1918. But, at 2:30am on New Year’s Day, as the ship approached the port of Stornoway, a few yards offshore and a mile away from the safety of Stornoway Harbour, she hit the infamous rocks “The Beasts of Holm”, and eventually sank. The final death toll was officially put at 205, of whom 181 were islanders, but as the ship was badly overcrowded and there was a lack of proper records the death toll could have been slightly higher. John F. Macleod from Ness, Isle of Lewis, saved 40 lives, swimming ashore with a heaving line, along which many of the survivors made their way to safety. Only 75 of the 280 (officially known) passengers survived the disaster, 73% perished in the incident.


Prison Art, Players Navy Cut Medium Cigarette Package Frame

6 Mar






The two frames are made from old Players Navy Cut Medium Cigarette Packs.  They each measure about 12 1/2″.  In the center are old miniature prints from the time period these were made.  I date these to anywhere from the 1930’s to the 50’s.

I found this information about Navy Cut Cigarettes  on Wikipedia:

Navy Cut is a brand of cigarettes manufactured by the Imperial Tobacco Group, formerly John Player & Sons in England.  The brand became Player’s Navy Cut.  They were particularly popular in England and Germany in the late 19th Century and early part of the 20th century, but were later produced in the US.  The packet has the distinctive logo of a smoking sailor in a ‘Navy Cut’ cap.  The phrase Navy Cut is according to Player’s adverts to originate from the habit of sailors taking a mixture of tobacco leaves and binding them with string or twine.  The tobacco would then mature under pressure and the sailor could then dispense the tobacco by slicing off a cut.

These frames could have been made by a prisoner or someone in the army or navy with time on his hands.  I would imagine there was a lot of down time in both scenarios.   They are beautifully made and have stood up quite well to the test of time, even though they are quite delicate in nature.

These will be for sale in my booth at the Almonte Antique Market, 26 Mill Street, Almonte ON.

Priced at $ 25 each.

Please note these items are now SOLD!!