In a Nutshell: Blaze of Glory from Arts & Antiques


Demand for cigarette cases kept Fabergé’s artisans busy. According to the 1998 book The Fabergé Case, Jalmari Haikonen, an engraver employed by Fabergé in St. Petersburg from 1915–18, noted seeing as many as 40 lined up, awaiting his attention. “A cigarette case was something you wanted a beautiful example of,” says Mark Schaffer, a principal at A La Vieille Russie in New York. “Some were simpler, and some were elaborate, but they utilized all the techniques for which Fabergé was famous.” . . .
Munn and Schaffer agree that strictures against smoking have reduced collector interest in Fabergé cigarette cases. Though aficionados pounce on magnificently ornamented examples, such as the anniversary case, the plainer ones in gold and silver, which were the entry-level luxury goods of their day, lost their popularity as smoking declined. Collectors have tried repurposing cases—Schaffer knows of some who have filled them with business cards, and Munn recalls others who have converted them into compacts—but most owners are more interested in their form than in their function. “They won’t take modern cigarettes, anyway,” Munn says. “Cigarettes of the time were longer.”.

Excerpted from:
In a Nutshell: Blaze of Glory
Arts & Antiques
By: Sheila Gibson Stoodley
November 2009