Box labels for cigars
Quality cigars have been packaged for generations in cardboard or wooden boxes. Preferably made of cedar wood, because this type of wood benefits the taste of the cigar. To make the brand known, cigar boxes are provided with a burnt-in mark. A little later it became customary to decorate the boxes with a colorful brand label with the edges being taped. A second advertising sheet, the box label, is applied under the lid. That inner sheet becomes the prestige of the cigar manufacturer, printed in multi-color lithographs in a beautiful art design. As a rule with embossing and even heightened with gold leaf.
In the meantime, the culture of the box label has existed for more than a century and a half and a wide variety of designs has emerged. In addition to labels created in Cuba and the Dominican Republic with their local flavor, there are European designs. They should match the mood of the cigar smoker in our region in order to stimulate sales.
Portraits of women in elegant costumes became popular, often somewhat Mediterranean or exotic. A little erotic is certainly allowed. The House of Orange is becoming a popular theme in the Netherlands. From King Willem III onwards, all Orange Monarchs have been depicted on such a box label, together with their partner, their favorite palace or simply a branch with Orange cones.
More common are coat of arms of cities, also of the houses where the cigars were made. Such tokens are underlined with weighty sayings in Spanish, Latin or another impressive language. A label dedicated to the Maas tunnel in Rotterdam is more relevant to current events, a remarkable brand in itself, but very popular when the tunnel opened. Later, the brand name Schiphol airport comes into focus.
With some labels, the design line can be followed by uniformity in use of color or a certain style of work. The printer sometimes presents a certain signature appearance. Much of the printed matter was supplied by Helmut Schött in Reidt in North Rhine-Westphalia, Germany. That company almost had a monopoly in the production of box labels in the extremely painstaking technique. They even sell labels without a brand, to which the small cigar maker could add his own name or personal text with a stamp.