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Posts Tagged ‘Germany’


Zino Davidoff was born on March 11, 1906 in Kiev, Russian Empire, present-day Ukraine. He was the eldest of four children born to tobacco merchant, Henri Davidoff. Even in his own autobiographical writings, the facts on Zino’s youth are a bit hazy, as he was quite young during this time and could only piece together some stories of his youth. His parents were either cigar merchants or cigarette manufacturers in Kiev. Fleeing the political turmoil and anti-Semitism prevalent in Russia, his parents left some of their family behind and emigrated to Geneva, Switzerland in 1911 for a better life and opened their own Tobacconist shop in 1912. Finishing school in 1924, he went to Latin America to learn about the tobacco trade, spending time in such places as Argentina, Brazil, and finally Cuba where he spent two years working on a plantation and first encountered Cuban cigars.

Returning to Switzerland around 1930, he took over his parents’ shop. What had originally been a modest tobacco shop grew into a rich business during and after WW II. Neutral Switzerland was spared much of the havoc wreaked elsewhere in Europe and became a haven for wealthy tobacco customers. Zino was particularly successful in marketing the Hoyo de Monterrey Châteaux Series of Cuban cigars created for Zurich cigar distributor A Durr Co., in the 1940s and named after great Bordeaux wines.  Around this time, Zino is also credited by many as having invented the first desktop cigar humidor, in order to preserve cigars at the same conditions of humidity and temperature under which they were rolled in Havana. Davidoff also had success writing several books on cigar smoking and Cuban cigar brands.

In 1970, Zino sold his small but highly successful tobacco shop in Geneva to the Max Oettinger Group. Zino stayed on as Davidoff’s ambassador until his death in 1994 at the age of 87. He was survived by his wife and daughter, who remained in Switzerland and by his siblings that had since moved to other parts of the world, mainly North America. Till his last moments, Zino an avid family man, sought out to find his lost family history back in the Soviet Union and then the emerging independent states of Russia and Ukraine. Unfortunately, many historical documents had been lost and so had his search. Not much information exists on their whereabouts, but through saved notes by Zino, it has been speculated that many had defected to North America in the early to mid 70’s, some under new identities and family names.

A tobacconist is an expert dealer in tobacco in various forms and the related accoutrements. Such accoutrements include pipes, lighters, matches, pipe cleaners, pipe tampers, ashtrays, humidors and more. Books and magazines, especially ones having to do with tobacco are commonly offered. Items irrelevant to tobacco such as puzzles, games, figurines, hip flasks, and candy are sometimes sold. A tobacconist shop is traditionally represented by a wooden Indian positioned nearby.

Although I am not really a tobacconist, I have collected many tobacciana collectibles that are offered for sale at my eBay store “Kelekchens”.  You won’t see a wooden Indian but here are a few vintage and antique humidors:

                        

Noritake and Nippon Porcelain Humidors ca. early 19oo’s.

   

Marzi & Remy Porcelain Humidor – Germany ca. 1940’s

    

Metal Humidors – Adam Verde and a Boston Rumidor ca. 1940’s to 1950’s

                   

Glass Humidors – Heisey glass, polychrome mesh (1920’s Art Deco), EAPG  and  Victorian Humidors.

Hand thrown, stone crock humidor with pipe rest lid.

Depression glass, Moongleam, cigarette humidor.

And my favorite:

                   

A stunning humidor with beautiful glass.  Double click on the photos to see better details.

You can see these and many more from my collection.  Place your cursor on my assistant “the Duck” and click to go to my eBay store Kelekchens. Open tobacciana and your there.

Until next time Happy Collecting and remember “the best is yet to come!”

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The making of beer steins since 1945 has taken on many changes. Prior to WWI the stein and porcelain industry in Europe was second to none.  Because of the ready materials (clay) to make pottery and ceramics, steins in particular,  Germany was prolific with stein manufacturers.  During the war because of shortage of material and personnel the making of steins dwindled.  However, during the 10 years that followed WWII stein production gradually revived.

Most steins produced during the 50’s were reproductions of previous molds.  Stein makers used the old molds but made new steins. As I stated earlier the numbers found on the bottom of most German steins are the mold number.  Two of the most notably reproduced steins are the Regimental stein (see first stein post) and also souvenir steins for military personel (most notably pewter steins).  The U.S. has had a significant presence of military personnel in Europe since the end of WWII. 

Before I go much farther I want to show you a particular stein I have that I believe is a hard stein to find. This stein was probably made between 1947 – 1949.

         

A beer stein made in the French Zone during WWII.

 

Initially, despite being one of the Allied powers during WWII, the French were not to be granted an occupation zone due to concerns over the great historical animosity between France and Germany, as well as the smaller role played by the French within the alliance. Eventually, both the British and the Americans agreed to cede small portions of their respective zones to France. This arrangement resulted in the French zone consisting of two non-contiguous areas, although both areas shared a border with France itself. The headquarters of the French military government was in Baden – Baden.  The Saargebiet, an economically important area due to its rich coal deposits, was enlarged and in 1947 turned into the Saar Protectorate. It was a nominally independent state, but its economy was integrated into the French economy. The above stein was made in the respective French Zone during that relatively short period of occupation.  Reminds me of the French resistance during the war. Ha!

During the 60’s and 70’s the number of beer stein producers shrank. Now, a signicant amount of steins are produced by only a few major companies who modernized and automated their production.  It is important for a collector to know which companies no longer make steins.  Obviously, the steins no longer produced are the ones that will some day, if not already be the collectible ones because of their ongoing  limited supply.

     

Echardt & Engler closed their doors in 1971

 

         

J.W. Remy closed in the 1960s

 

    

This is a Reinhold Merkelbach stein.

 

         

This is a George & Hans Stueler made stein ca. 1917 – 1931

 

    

This is a “salt glazed” stein. An early process used to color the stein in a cobalt glaze.

To see more from my collection go to my eBay store “Kelekchens“,  by clicking on my Assistant “the Duck” and select Beer Steins in the left hand column.

In my next post I will talk about true American collecting when I talk about Civil War relics.  There are no collector’s as gung ho as those who study and collect American Civil War history.  So until next time Happy Collecting and remember “the best is yet to come“.

 

 

 

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There are two trains of thought behind occupational steins.  The most prevelant is that of “what kind of work you do”.  Many steins have been made and given over the years as gifts to artisans who possibly did some qaulity work for a customer and the customer wanted to show their appreciation.  There are those collectors that specialize in steins depicting one’s occupation. 

The representation of the occupation is usually shown on the body, lid, and/or thumlift.  The scene is most normally of a worker in action or in uniform, or the products or tools of the occupation are shown.

         

This is an “Occupation” stein of a Coal Miner.

 

The coal miner stein has Maker’s Mark  – Simon Peter Gerz, c. 1900 to 1960, Germany.  Gerz steins are still made today.

 

Some occupational steins are at first glance hard to recognize as “occupation” steins.  An example would be bucket, stirrer or scoop in a barrel (brewer), scissors and divider (tailor), oxheads or pretzels (butchers and bakers).  Books would indicate professional occupations such as lawyers or teachers.  When famous craftsmen are depicted such as Johan Gutenberg the Hapsburg Double Headed Eagle will be depicted.

Occupational steins can be found from all eras and in all materials.  The most commanly collected occupationals are those from around 1900 that have steepled pewter lids and porcelain or stoneware bodies.

Thats it for today fellow collectors.  In my next post I will discuss a few steins from the War years, primarily WWII. So until then Happy collecting and remember the best is yet to come.

NOTE:  Don’t forget to look for my updates in all post as I buy, sell and trade in each collection. (update to “Taking Care of Your Nippon” Collection)

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My father started collecting beer steins back in the 1970’s.  Not that my family are heavy drinkers but my Dad liked an occasional beer and I do as well.  Most steins are German made.  At least the collectible ones are.  Who hasn’t heard of Mettlach steins? The most collectible stein for stein collectors.

Steins or tankards as some collectors call them have a 400 year history.  Like many collectibles that 400 years can be broken down into periods when certain makes and makers were prevelant or popular. 

Earliest Steins   1525 – 1700 A.D.

Transition Period   1700 – 1850  A.D.

The Golden Era  1850 – 1910

The Modern Period  1920 – present

Most steins are pottery or stoneware.  Many are handpainted or early faience peices are modeled after chinese procelain.  Faience being one area of specialized collecting in steins.  Other things to look for when collecting steins.  The shape of the stein, the size, the lid (pewter or tin), whether the lid is inlaid with porcelain or has a high finial. Decorative thumblifts, lidring, footring, the handle if decorated can help distinguish the maker of a stein, but of course the most important are maker’s marks either stamped, imprinted or painted on the bottom of the stein. 

Maker’s marks on steins, it seems like there are 1000s.  Researching marks can be a time consuming task but as collector’s, research is at least half the fun.  Buying an old looking stein at a garage sale or thrift shop to learn you have a collectible that is desired by stein collector’s is great fun, exciting and sometimes profitable. 

This is a reproduction but resembles a Faience stein.

 

A significant area of stein collection are  the old Regimental steins.  I see many up for sale on eBay and in trade/collector catalogs.  Men who served in a unit in Europe throughout history were given a stein that recognized their service to their country and identified their unit.  These steins also have been copied.  In fact now even some of the copies are almost antique.

             

This is a Commemorative Artillery Regimental stein.  3.  Field Artillery – Regiment – 1. Battalion 1899/1901, Munchen

 

 

The above pictured stein is actually a reproduction of an original Regimental Stein however this stein was made sometime around 1947 by the Porzellan und Glasmalerei Karl Rau.  The lid is pewter and hand welded.  Note the lithopane bottom of a dancing couple.  Lithopanes are often found in the Regimental Steins.

Just a short blurb on Maker’s Marks.  Many steins have Germany stamped or imprinted on the bottom with numbers.  The numbers most often identify what mold was used.  The trick is to be able to identify what factory or maker the stein came from.  So the numbers don’t mean much except to give the feel that the stein did have a mold and to tell us the stein was not hand thrown (method of making steins from the very early period).

I have two dozen German Steins that are currently being marketed.  Visit my store by clicking on My Assistant (the Duck) and read the descriptions of some of the steins in my collection.

In my next post I will talk about Occupational Steins during the war years WWII.  Until then, happy collecting and remember “the best is yet to come”.

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