• Cigar Memorabilia Is Still Smoking Tony Hyman has been collecting cigar boxes since he was 12. The National Cigar Museum has been open for 10 to 12 years in various formats on the Internet, but I completely redesigned the site about four years ago. In the early days, I’d send information to industry executives, and they’d post it, so they had control of the site. But when iWeb came out for the Mac, it made it so easy to build…
  • The Disappearing Art of Porcelain Signs I liked to collect things even as a child. Things that didn’t cost anything, like different colors of stones. There was something about the advertising that I liked, so in the mid-1970s, I started to pick up porcelain signs. I got heavier and heavier into that, and by the 1980s, I had a fairly substantial collection. As a result of collecting telephone signs, I would run into other advertisin…
  • Where There's Smoke There's a Vintage Cigarette Lighter At the very beginning, my interest in lighters was about the mechanism. I had my first lighter when I was 14. I saved up my nickels and dimes. I grew up in Oakland, and bought my first cigarette lighter because I thought it was way cool. I didn’t smoke and I didn’t set fire to things. I just thought the lighter was really a beautiful piece of equipment and the whole idea of being able to push down…
  • Collecting Vintage Cigarette Lighters Cigarette lighter collecting is a hobby that never gets boring. Just by browsing eBay auctions for ten minutes, for example, I recently found a lighter shaped like a lion’s head, one made of jade and gold, and an electric lighter in the shape of a woman’s face that hangs on the wall. A flame we can carry in our pockets is something that we take for granted, but it was much harder to make fire i…
  • Signs, Tins, and Other Advertising Antiques How did I get started collecting advertising antiques? My dad was a lecturer and tutor in graphics and art from the 1960s onwards, and was into vintage automobiles and advertising, like vintage signs, pumps, and globes. So I spent the large portion of my childhood going to auto swap meets and antiques fairs, I think it all started from there. The first thing I collected was old bottles. In one …