CCNY in Souvenirs, 1900-1947

  Around the turn of the twentieth century, nearly every household had at least one smoker. The health dangers we are aware of were then unknown. Tobacco companies were eager to promote their products to increase sales, and they advertised heavily. They also inserted souvenirs or 'premiums' into their packages, using several themes and issuing them in series. Collegiate and sports imagery were popular themes.

Around 1908 the trading cards which had been included since the 1880s gave way to leathers. Shortly after that small silk pictures began to be included. The quality of these "silkies" varied from brand to brand. As the silks were phased out, trading cards returned. Murad's 1914 collegiate athletics series was so popular it was re-issued in 1925.

The practice of giving away souvenirs to promote sales diminished with the advent of World War I, along with the popularity of Turkish and Egyptian cigarettes. By 1920 cigarette smoking had become quite common, even women indulged in public, and the newer 'American Blend' cigarette grew in popularity. Cigarette manufacturers didn't totally give up on their expensive upscale (10-20 cents a pack) Turkish and Egyptian brands until after the stock market crash of 1929.

College Pennant Leathers were included in a variety of cigarette brands including Mogul, Murad, Egyptienne Straights and Turkey Red. These leathers come in at least three different varieties.

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