The act of smoking isn’t what it used to be. Scientific studies and good ole common sense tells us that, whichever way you look at it, smoking is probably something youre better off avoiding. Yet back in less enlightened times, smoking was seen as the height of cool and sophistication, and nothing more embodied that than the production of finely crafted cigarette cases.
On Thursday, April 21, Leslie Hindman Auctioneers offer bidders a sample of some of that bygone handiwork when they catalog over 250 tobacco related cases, all from Russia, on the Day 2 of their Fine Furniture and Decorative Arts sale. And while the collection consists primarily of cigarette cases, snuff, pill and change boxes also go under the hammer in what promises to be the finest sales of its kind this year.
Lot 599 is sure to catch the eye of collectors - a Russian enameled silver-gilt cigarette case. Carrying the mark of Pavel Ovchinnikov with an Imperial warrant, this case dates from late 19th century Moscow, and is decorated with polychrome floral and foliate enameling.
One of the star offerings in the entire sale is sure to be Lot 605 - a Russian silver-gilt and guilloche enamel cigarette case from the famous house of Faberge. Dating back to the early 20th century, this exquisite piece is decorated with translucent red over a wavy ground, silver-gilt foliate bands on the sides, and an emerald cabochon inset thumb piece.
Those looking for a genuine collectible with roots in the communist era of Russian history should quickly turn their catalog to Lot 725 - a Russian silver and enamel cigarette case. Laced with Cold War mystery, its lid is decorated with a silver emblem for OSOAVIAKHIM, once the acronym of a Soviet paramilitary organisation.
Chanel your inner Don Draper by snaring Lot 676, an early 20th century Russian 14 carat rose gold cigarette case. With its radiating wave pattern and cabochon sapphire inset thumb-piece, it would surely have served as the perfect compliment to that 11am cocktail so revered by 1960s ad men.
The grand old habit of using snuff may no longer be with us, but in its day it was immensely popular with the wealthy classes of both sexes. Lot 690, a Russian enameled silver-gilt snuff box, would have looked the part in any sitting room, be it in Moscow or St. Petersburg.
Day 2 of Leslie Hindman Auctioneers Fine Furniture & Decorative Arts sale is set down for Thursday, April 21 and contains over 700 expertly curated lots. Look now at the full catalog.