Friday, September 11, 2015

Quirky collectables

One of the unexpected consequences of the smoking ban in bars and restaurants has been the increase in demand from collectors. Ashtray production was big business and the ban saw manufacturing grind to a halt, putting pressure on prices.

As Ebay regulars will testify, there is a whole category dedicated to 'Tobacciana' or smoking related merchandise. Sounds nerdy right? On a par with stamp collecting, or worse. 

The ashtray has been around since the beginning of the 19th Century when it started to become very popular so some are now genuine antiques and worth a small fortune. Sounding less nerdy now?

Businesses like Pernod, Ricard, Martell and Moët & Chandon saw ashtrays as a cheap and effective way to advertise. Not surprisingly, some were also emblazoned with cigarette brands, the ubiquitous Gauloises and Gitanes being the most recognised. Designs in ashtrays would often reflect the artistic movements of the era, particularly obvious in the stylised art glass of the Deco and Art Nouveau periods. The 1970's saw a move towards very heavy and curvaceous glass. By the 90's, celebrity chefs were commissioning designs for the ashtrays used in their restaurants. Quaglino's, Mirabelle and OxoTower all experienced such a high level of theft of their highly prized ashtrays, some even began to sell them on their websites. Now selling on Ebay of course!

Green majolica frog ashtrays from the 1970's are now highly collectable. L'Heritier-Guyot is 
a manufacturer of Crème de Cassis.

This Mercedes-Benz ashtray is one of my favourites.

Gitanes and Gauloises ashtrays from the 1970's

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