Smokin’ Tobacco Crate Label Lithography

Imagine visiting your local farmer’s market somewhere in Maryland in 1875. In one section of the market you would be confronted with stacks of crates containing scrap tobacco, each identified as a brand, with a colorful lithographic label proclaiming such. With the price per crate roughly the same and with the crates sold side by side, the bright, dramatic, and seductive labels were the only distinguishing feature of the crates. Competition must have been stiff in this commercial arena, and even worse when large companies would issue a number of their own brands to compete one against another.

Many of the lithographic labels produced for tobacco crates in the decades from the 1840s to 1900s are among the finest surviving examples of the craft. Like their smaller siblings, the cigar box labels, they were made first and foremost to attract the attention of the buyer. Admittedly promotional and utilitarian, these labels used color, metallic inks and clever graphic design to stand out, but despite the effort and creativity necessary for their production, these labels were never seen as art in the past, but interestingly were collected, primarily because of their aesthetic qualities.

Contact The Rucker Archive or call 303-494-6715 to learn more about or view the entire portfoliio.

Snapshot of the Tobacco Crate Label Edition
Price: $495/ea including shipping

Posted: 11.30.12 @ 1:01AM / Shop / See discussion threads below
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