Q: I inherited my grandfather’s collection of over 600 cigar bands. They are in an old scrapbook. Only a small corner of each band is glued onto the page. There are pages that have cigar bands picturing every president from George Washington to Teddy Roosevelt. Are they of any value?
A: Collecting cigar bands was a popular hobby in the early 1900s. Cigar manufacturers used the bands to keep cigars from unrolling and to identify and advertise their brands. Some bands made in the early 1900s were printed with real gold gilt. Single bands as well as sets of bands like your U.S. presidents were made. Collectors used to look for sets that interested them or for particularly beautiful designs. As with most paper collectibles, pasting or gluing them into an album or book lowers their value—unless they can be safely removed without damaging the paper. There are few cigar-band collectors today, but there are many collectors of cigar memorabilia. Look for dealers or auctions that sell cigar-box labels, cigar cutters and other tobacciana.