A rare antique cigarette case was recently bought at a Birmingham antiques fair, dating back to the First World War, with its contents perfectly preserved. The case was discovered by Duncan Philips, who attended the fair on the first day, purchasing the collectors item for £100.
In 1914, Princess Mary, the daughter of King George V and Queen Mary decided to send some Christmas cheer to soldiers and sailors who were bravely defending their country during the war, which was declared in July 1914. As the Princess wanted a gift sent to each and every soldier, it was soon clear that more funding would be required, although she had wanted to use her own money. Her name was used to represent a fund for the public.
As donations arrived, cigarette cases containing cigarettes were sent out to soldiers, bearing a card which read:
“With best wishes for a happy Christmas and a victorious new year.”
Although a large number of the cigarette cases were distributed, it is extremely unusual to find a case containing the original cigarettes, as they would have been smoked by the recipient. Discoveries like the cigarette case evoke memories of the war and how life has changed since. Finding antique furniture, like Victorian dining chairs in the Lancashire area conjures up images of how life was in the early part of the century. According to Duncan Philips, the cigarette case containing cigarettes is proof of how times have changed, saying:
“It has a Christmas feel to it to mark the festive season, but the fact it has cigarettes inside shows how attitudes to smoking have changed over the years.”
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