Antique Smoking Jacket
Channel surfing, during one of my many sleepless nights, I tend to find a T.V. program that will sooth my mind and bring me relaxation (or the least amount of boredom). One of these nights I stumbled upon the Antique Roadshow.
Normally this would immediately do the trick and put me to sleep but tonight would be slightly different. A textile appraiser suddenly appeared on screen impressed with something any cigar smoker would want: An Antique Smoking Jacket.
This Antique Smoking Jacket was a late 19th century, hand sewn piece, that the grandmother of the guest had constructed. The really interesting part: The jacket was made of the silk bands that manufactures would use to bundle their cigars. Yellow in color (primarily) you could clearly see the names of all the cigar companies that contributed.
I guess it’s time to start counting my pennies or find a girl who is willing to do this for me because this is something I would love, if not need, to have.
Here is the transcript from the appraisal (you can view the Roadshow page here):
GUEST: I brought a smoking jacket that was made by my great-grandmother for her husband, Charles. She lived in the Boston area and they traveled to various areas in New England. She was born in 1866, right after the Civil War.
APPRAISER: What’s really interesting about this jacket is that it’s made up of cigar silks,
APPRAISER: which were the ribbons that were tied around bundles of cigars. Starting in the late 1860s, they started exporting them to distributors and bundling them and using the cigar ribbons as advertisement for the different brands. Almost every household in the United States had someone that smoked cigars. This was before cigarettes.
APPRAISER: She used feather stitching here,
APPRAISER: which is really interesting. And I just wanted to show some of the different labels that we have here. This one down here is Havana, Bradford. Some of these are from the Massachusetts area. There’s Shawmut, the Boston Bouquet, the Harvard. Now, this one is a woven label, which connotated a more expensive cigar than the stamped ones. Also we have Blackstone, which was a really famous brand. The ones I really love are… We have Flying Dude, right, American Tramp… and I love how your grandmother pieced these. It’s totally balanced. Over here we have a Back Bay and it’s next to a Boston Bouquet.
APPRAISER: And so she really gave this a lot of thought in putting this together. Usually the cigar labels we see as household textiles in the late 19th century, they were made into quilts and table covers. Don’t see a lot of clothing made out of them. So this is… this is a really special piece. I would date this to about 1880s, 1890s.
APPRAISER: Because of the cutaway style of this gentlemen’s smoking jacket. It’s like a hip thing, it’s not… you know, it’s almost something you’d expect to see in the 1960s. It’s not typical of that period. So this has a lot going for it. It’s collectible as a man’s garment, as a tobacco collectible and also as folk art because of the way it’s pieced and the work on it.
APPRAISER: And I think this is in the $4,000 to $5,000 range.
APPRAISER: At auction.
GUEST: That’s very nice.
APPRAISER: Thank you for bringing it.
GUEST: Thank you.
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