Q: This personalized pocket knife belonged to my father. It came in a box with this label that says “B-Y’s and smoke Y-B’s.” What can you tell me about it?
A: This personalized pocket knife with simulated pearl handle was a premium offered by Yocum Brothers, a cigar maker, to celebrate its 75th anniversary. The company was started by brothers James and William Yocum in Reading, Pennsylvania, in 1879. It became one of the largest companies in the area, eventually employing 500 workers and producing up to 20 million cigars a year. It was sold to D.W.G. Cigar Corporation of Detroit in 1956. “B-Y’s and smoke Y-B’s” stands for the slogan “Be wise and smoke Yocum Brother’s cigars.” The pocket knife, engraved with a name or signature, was offered in 1954 for fifty cents and 10 Yocum cigar bands. The knife sells for about $15 but with a box it should be more—maybe $30 to $50.
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