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Stogie News: Cigar Cutter Sells for $60,500 at Auction

15 May 2007

After poking fun at the futility of fancy cigar gadgets and even recommending wooden matches over expensive butane torches, I couldn’t help but bring the following story to your attention.

A rare cigar cutter sold for an astonishing $60,500 on Sunday at an auction in Ann Arbor, Michigan. The item was part of the Jim Cate collection, an estate consisting of antiques and advertising items he acquired from a museum/penny store in Idaho.

Dubbed “the mother of all cigar-tip cutters,” the piece features a Marshall Fey Slot Machine Book that gets set into motion each time a stogie is placed into the top to be clipped.

In this fashion, the device is not only a cigar cutter; it’s also a trade stimulator. Popular in saloons in the late nineteenth century, trade stimulators were miniature gambling devices that were legal because instead of offering money, they bestowed chewing gum, stamps, and – you guessed it – cigars upon winners.

Often set beside a cash register or near check-out counters, these machines encouraged (or “stimulated”) customers to take their chance and spend some of their spare change before leaving. After inserting a coin, a handle was depressed or cranked to set into motion a roulette wheel, playing cards, or dice. When the machine stopped, the patron read his “winnings” on the dial; these were dispensed by the clerk rather than spilling out of the machine itself.

The device sold at auction requires a cigar head, not a coin, spin a roulette wheel. According to Showtime Auction Services, only two other cigar cutter/trade stimulators are known to exist.

No word yet on whether any gum, stamps, or cigars were included in the steep sale price.

Patrick A

Tags: cigars

5 Responses to “Stogie News: Cigar Cutter Sells for $60,500 at Auction”

  1. Sam Tuesday, May 15, 2007 at 3:38 am #

    The whole yard sale concept becomes clear to me now. People and their junk. 60 grand on that?? Who says— I gotta have that? It's like Uncle Rico with his ship model to get people to buy plastic bowls.

  2. MikeH Tuesday, May 15, 2007 at 4:25 am #

    Wasn't Uncle Rico also from Idaho? Coinsidence? I think not.

  3. Scott Tuesday, May 15, 2007 at 7:30 am #

    The price is way outta my league…but in the dream bar/cigar lounge I am building in my head, this would look awfully good next to the cigar store Indian and vintage Wurlitzer jukebox.

  4. Brian Wednesday, May 16, 2007 at 5:47 am #

    I know, it's a bit ridiculous but I can't help but agree with Scott- it'd be a lot of fun to have in your own personal cigar bar.

    My wife is really into antiques, you'd be surprised what people will pay for things. If a train-shaped weathervane can fetch 1.2 million, I think it's reasonable that a cool cigar gadget would get 60 grand! 🙂

  5. Scott Wednesday, May 16, 2007 at 12:57 pm #

    Given the current restrictions on good living, the idea of my own personal cigar bar/lounge is something I get lost in frequently. I find myself walking around the city looking at vacant property, thinking “Now that’s a good place for a cigar bar…exposed brick…space for a walk in humidor…yes, leather couches…”

    And yes, everyone here is invited…haha