Dating an old cigar box
As the industry grew in the mid-19th century, so did the need for clear brand identification.Labels or other illustrations also appear on the inside of the lids of many Havana and other brands.Boxes also usually have colorful decorative borders.The cedar box is sometimes referred to as a boite nature.The practice of using labels, usually printed in similar colors and with similar wording, to seal the box continues today for most handmade brands, Cuban or not.The form of packaging called 8-9-8 is used for some cigars in the Partagas and Ramon Allones brands.Hecho en Cuba has been stamped on the underside of Cuban boxes since 1961, when it replaced the English inscription "Made in Havana--Cuba." Since 1985, they have also carried a factory code and Cubatabaco's logo, the latter being replaced with Habanos SA from late 1994. Meaning "totally by Hand," they provide the only cast-iron clue that the cigars are genuinely handmade in the traditional Cuban manner.
Cigars were originally sold in bundles covered with pigs' bladders (with a pod of vanilla to improve the smell); then came the use of large chests, holding up to10,000 cigars. Upmann started shipping back cigars, for the use of its directors in London, in sealed cedar boxes stamped with the bank's emblem.When the bank decided to go, full-scale, into the cigar business, the cedar box took off as a form of packaging for all the major Havana brands, and all hand made cigars (though small quantities today are sometimes packages in cardboard cartons, and single cigars of many brands come in aluminum tubes lined with cedar).