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sports antique of the week archive



May 31st- June 6th 2009

Standout items 

by SportsAntiques.com



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19 1/2 inch tall by 13 1/2 inch wide framed


Sold May 4, 2008  for $9,500.00

in Robert Edward Auctions

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This Home Run Cigarettes poster sold in the May 2008 Robert Edward Auction for $9,500.00. Over the last 20 plus years I've only seen it pop up in auctions a handful of times. You see Home front.jpg (184797 bytes) Run Cigarettes for sale in the hobby from time to time. I bought a pack  at the 1991 National, which I still have, for $100.00. 


Interestingly two cigar brands from the same time period also used the name Home Run. There HOME RUN-TINS STITCH.jpg (143913 bytes) was Home-Run Stogie cigars made by the J. A. Rigby Cigars Company of Mansfield Ohio.  There was also Home Run Cigars, who's maker is uncertain, but is speculated to have originated in Pennsylvania. There doesn't appear to be any  connection between these products, and it's unknown if a proprietary claim to the name was ever made. 


Until I focused on it for this article, I never really knew if this poster advertised the same Home Run Cigarettes I have. Actually I never knew much of anything about my pack of cigarettes and was even suspicious they might be some kind of fantasy piece. I think I was thrown off because the graphics of the poster are so good, and the graphics on the cigarette packs are so lame. When you look close, the graphics of the poster are not only better, they're quite different. 

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batter and catcher comparison, cigarette pack left, poster right


Check out the catchers mask on the cigarette pack to the left above. What the heck is that? That's what I mean by lame graphics. What's astounding is they used that same lame illustration on the packs for at least fifty years. However, even though the batter and catcher don't match, the font style of "HOME RUN" does.

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Font styles match, cigarette pack left, poster right


Moreover, the cigarette pack used as home base in the poster illustration matches as well.

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Right, early version, 

Left, later version changed in 1920's

Cigarette packs match 

"home base" in poster    

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Pack marked copyright 1921 by Liggett & Meyers

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c1910 poster

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Home Base in poster

same graphics as pack


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Pack made in 1918 at Fact 3, Dist. of La.

Right photo courtesy Jim Shaw, JimsBurntOfferings.com


Many years ago on eBay, I bought a newspaper page from the January 8, 1891 The Daily Picayune-New Orleans. It had an advertisement for Home Run Cigarettes. It's one of those kind of things you buy that you don't really need for your collection. I've shoved it around for years un-displayed and finally it serves a purpose for this article. By it we have documentation Home Run Cigarettes were sold as early as January 8, 1891. 

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Moreover, from this ad we know S. Hernsheim & Bros. of New Orleans LA. was the manufacturer at that time. It's reported S. Hernsheim & Bros. was the largest cigar manufacturer in the United States in the early 1890's and was founded by Simon Hernsheim 1839-1898. His factory was five stories tall, and built in 1882. The company employed 361 men and 726 women in production, plus another 100 clerical and sales people. 


Tobacco historian Joe Parker told me Home Run Cigarettes were marketed largely in the south, and he 

believes they were produced up until the early 1980's. Joe also filled me in that the W.R. Irby Tobacco Company of New Orleans, and the Liggett and Meyers tobacco company also owned Home Run Cigarettes at different junctures of it's history.  Jon Canfield of baseballandtobacco.com informed me Home Run Cigarettes never issued tobacco cards and that it's connection to baseball was purely graphical.


I'll clarify this study is only a quick general one consistent with the time constraints of a weekly feature. Hopefully this cursory look will encourage further study of this company. 


**                **                **


SportsAntiques.com thanks the following tobacco historians who helped with my research for this article. Jim Shaw of JimsBurntOfferings.com, Jon Canfield of baseballandtobacco.com, and 

Joe Parker of Prince Frederic Maryland.

Photos of Home Run Cigarettes poster and catalog description, Home Run Cigars tin, and Home Run Stogies tin courtesy Robert Edward Auctions


Please et us know what you think of 

this feature, and what kinds of things you 

would like to see on Sports Antique of the Week








Email exchange with tobacco historian Jon Canfield

Hello Jon, Carlton Hendricks here with SportsAntiques.com. Can you tell me anything about Home Run Cigarettes? I'd like to learn more about this brand.
Thanks -Carlton 
Good to hear from you. I'd be happy to share what I know about Home run Cigarettes however let me begin with a disclaimer - the information I have is not exacting in that I am unsure of the complete production run (when the brand began exactly, was production continuous, when it ended exactly). With all that being said...

Home Run Cigarettes were began sometime between 1911 and 1918. By 1918, Home Run was being advertised in newspapers. The original packs were paper with black and white (or black and tan-ish) graphics. They were not the more common green printing you see frequently. The original packs are quite rare. Jim Shaw has a scan of an original pack on his website: http://users.ap.net/~burntofferings/packsliggett_duke.html I also saw one sell on eBay within the past year. I bid on it but was outbid (I think it sold for $100 or so which was a great price for an original pack). To date, it was the only original pack I have ever seen for sale.

I am unsure as to whether production was continuous, however I know Home run cigarette packs were made into the 1970's. Sometime in the early 1930's (or late 1920s), the colors were changed and the typical green and white packs were being made. I have personally seen green and white packs from the 1930's, 1950's and 1970's. In the later years, cellophane wrapping was added (with the red pull band at top).

Home Run Cigarettes never issued any cards. It's connection to baseball is purely graphical.

Hope this helps!

Kind regards, Jon


Email exchange with tobacco historian Joe Parker

Hi  Carlton Hendricks here with SportsAntiques.com. Can you tell me anything about Home Run Cigarettes? I'd like to learn more about this brand, see attached photo. I'm planning an article on the poster.  Thanks -Carlton
Hi, Carlton.
I’m getting ready to leave town for the weekend, so I wasn’t sure that I’d have time to get back to you tonight… but I did, so here goes. Some of this you probably already know.
Home Run was a brand of the W.R. Irby Tobacco Company of New Orleans. The Irby company was acquired by American Tobacco Company in, if memory serves, 1899, although there may have been a relationship between the two companies prior to that date. When American Tobacco was dissolved, the Liggett & Myers Tobacco Company wound up with the brand. They manufactured the brand at least through the 1970s, and I think at least into the very early 1980s. According to the Patent Office website, Liggett Group cancelled the trademark on May 12, 1981. Registration number 905,021 for “Home Run” was issued on December 29, 1970 and claimed that the brand’s first use in commerce was in October 1892. Lee A. Dew in his history of the Pinkerton Tobacco Company (long a subsidiary of Liggett & Myers), stated that Home Run was made with all Burley tobacco and was marketed largely in the south.
That’s pretty much the sum-total of everything I know about the brand. Hope it has been of at least some help! I’d be interested in seeing the article when you get done.
All the best,
Joe, Thanks so much for this info...it's very helpful...Say...what's the significance of being all Burley tobacco? Thanks so much again.-Carlton

Hi, Carlton,
Just got back in town a little while ago. Glad the information was of use. The significance of the all-Burley blend of tobacco is that it’s somewhat unusual. The so-called American blend cigarette as pioneered by Camel cigarettes was a mixture of Bright tobacco, Burley tobacco, a bit of Turkish tobacco and possibly a touch of Maryland tobacco for its even burning quality. Burley tobacco would generally probably be cheaper and it also has a larger capacity to absorb flavoring to cover the taste of “inferior” tobacco. The vast majority of cigarettes sold in this country since Camels were introduced and became popular have been variations on the American blend.
All the best,



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Two tobacco products employing the Home Run brand name believed unrelated to Home Run Cigarettes. Photos courtesy Robert Edward Auctions



Circa 1910 cardboard advertising poster for "Home Run Cigarettes" features a batter and catcher in full color with a pack of "Home Run Cigarettes" serving as home plate. This classic full-color lithographic advertising poster is one of the rarest and most impressive of all 1910-era generic baseball advertising pieces. This is a particularly well known piece in the general antique advertising collecting world, and has a higher profile in that collecting field than in the baseball collecting world. The advertising display is also featured in several books on classic American advertising lithography. This is one of only a handful of known examples. The poster (12 x 18 inches), which is produced on extremely thick stock (rigid and approximately one-quarter inch thick), displays a number of minor flaws consistent with its age, fragile nature, and former use including light soiling, minor abrasions and creases, tiny border tears, and a few insignificant tiny areas of color touch-up in the green of the grass (really minor and of no consequence). The colors remain strong and vibrant, and the piece displays beautifully. Of special note also is that the wood frame is original to the piece. This is how it was originally issued by Home Run Cigarettes for display in retail tobacco establishments, and because of this, the frame is really a part of the advertising display. Total dimensions: 13.5 x 19.5 inches. Reserve $500. Estimate $1,000/$1,500. 


Home Run Cigarettes Poster Page