Cigar News

cgr pix-us treasury round logo 150hx161Los Angeles, January 4, 2011 – The U.S. Treasury's Office of Foreign Assets Control is the government's watchdog over, among other things, the Cuban trade embargo. Highly active in penalizing smokers who purchased Cuban cigars over the Internet during the George W. Bush Administration, it has essentially ignored the area under Barack Obama.

With civil penalty releases completed for 2010, only one transaction for the unauthorized purchase of Cuban cigars over the Internet was levied, back in March. The transaction took place in late 2004 or early 2005 and the individual cited paid a fine of $525. That was it for the entire year.

The one fine equaled the 2009 total, where only a single purchaser - again in late 2004 or early 2005 - was hit with a penalty of $1,175.

By contrast, OFAC issued 27 penalties in 2008 for a total of $39,763.08, nearly double the 14 penalties issued in 2007 (for $20,330.70).

There have been no publicly-announced penalties related to the November seizures of 100,000 or so Cuban cigars sent from Swiss retailers to U.S. addressees, although the intended recipients received a cheery note from U.S. Customs that their shipments were seized as contraband and destroyed. That matter is still under investigation and it is not clear if OFAC will get involved.

The U.S. government's regulations concerning Havana cigars adopted during the Bush years are still in force and are so strict that an American buying a Cuban cigar outside the country - say, in London - and smoking it there is in violation of U.S. law. Don't believe it? The regulations are here.
~ Rich Perelman

cgr pix-home run tin 300x221Los Angeles, January 4, 2011 – While the auctions of vintage Havana cigars are famous for high prices, much lower-profile auctions are also racking up major bids on cigar collectibles, but without a single cigar inside!

The David and Marcia Hirsch Collection of collectible advertising displays, signs and tins - 1,520 lots in all - was sold by Dan Morphy Auctions on November 19-20 in Lancaster, Pennsylvania, with some especially remarkable prices paid for cigars tins of 50 to more than 100 years old. Among the highlights:

  • A circa-1900 tin for Home Run Cigars, made by the Pennsylvania-based Federal Cigar Company and picturing a runner sliding for home, was expected to bring $8,000-12,000. But as the best-known example of this quite-rare tin, it was finally sold for the highest price in the auction: $18,400!

  • A very well preserved example of a similarly-named Home-Run Stogie cigar tin from about the same time period, from the J.A. Rigby Cigar Co. of Mansfield, Ohio, sold for $4,600, also well above the pre-sale estimate.

  • A Poppy Cigar tin made in California by the American Can Company, also quite rare, sold for $3,450.
  • Cigar-related items made up about a third of the lots, a testament to the enormous effort cigar makers put into their packaging in the late 19th and early 20th Centuries. The top non-cigar item in the sale was a Yellow Kid Ginger Wafer tin and accompanying figurine - the Yellow Kid was a popular comic strip character a century ago - that sold for $10,350.

    Cigar-related memorabilia continues to be in demand, completely separate from the issues facing smokers; what will today's innovative packaging be worth . . . in 2060?
    ~ Rich Perelman

    Photography by Morphy Auctions.

    cgr pix-smoker in chair 150hx151Los Angeles, January 3, 2011 – Here is your chance to win cigars, cases, humidors and other prizes, and receive our three weekly newsletters – CigarWire, Cigar Bazaar and the Week in Review – for free!

    We'll draw a new winner every week for a single prize; you can enter for free here . . . but you must fill out the entire form for your entry to be valid!

    Congratulations to John Brantl of Bermuda Dunes, California, winner of our Register & Win drawing for a box of Punch Pitas from our Perelman, Pioneer & Company humidors, courtesy of General Cigar, in our drawing held on January 2. You can see our complete list of this year's winners below the registration form.

    To enter, just fill in the form below. If you have entered in the past, there is no need to re-enter; all past entries are carried forward to future drawings. You must be 21 or older to win; good luck!
    ~ Rich Perelman

    cgr pix-liga privada t52 band 150x250Los Angeles, January 3, 2011 – Happy New Year, cigar lovers!

    We hope everyone had a pleasant New Year's holiday, but it's always a good time to save some money on cigars! We found deals on 23 brands; you can search for yourself using our exclusive Comparison Shopper, with street prices on 800+ brands from our top-ten national retailers.

    BestCigarPrices.com:
    A nice special on the sought-after Liga Privada T52 Flying Pig (4 1/8 x 60), offered in the box of 12 for $124.95, lowest in our review.

    Famous Smoke Shop:
    Several brands on sale here, but all with expiration dates, so please check the calendar carefully!

    Arturo Fuente 8-5-8 (6 x 47 in maduro), in boxes of 25, normally $104.99, now $96.95 through January 25 only.

    Flor de Gonzalez Bundle Selection:

  • Churchill (7 x 48), in bundles of 25, was $24.95, now $19.99 through January 31;
  • Lonsdale (7 x 44), 25 was $24.95, now $19.99 through January 31;
  • Super Cazador (7 1/2 x 50), 25 was $24.95, now $19.99 through January 31;
  • Torpedo (7 x 52), 25 was $24.95, now $19.99 through January 31.
  • La Aurora 1495 Belicoso (6 1/4 x 52), in a sampler of five was $51.99, now $34.97 through January 5.

    La Aurora Preferidos Ecuador Robusto (5 x 50), also in a sampler of five, was $42.99, now $29.97 through January 5.

    Litto Gomez Diez Chisel Puro (5 1/2 x 54), in the box of 24 for $237.99.

    Mike's Cigars:
    Save on the new Avo Heritage Series Churchill (6 3/4 x 48), in samplers of five for $37.95 or in boxes of 20 for $145.95, lowest in our review.

    Savinelli Rich & Rare Series Y Torpedo (6 1/2 x 54), in boxes of 20 for $74.95.

    Serious Cigars:
    Some excellent values here on some tremendous cigars, while supplies last!

    Alec Bradley MAXX Nano (4 x 46), in the box of 40 for $127.95, lowest we have seen.

    Alec Bradley TEMPUS Magistri (6 1/2 x 54), 20 for $174.50.

    Cabaiguan Guapos Junior (4 5/8 x 42 with natural wrappers), in boxes of 20 for $122.25.

    Carlos Torano Exodus 1959 Double Corona (7 x 50), in boxes of 24 for $95.95.

    Davidoff Toro Especial Selection 702 Limited Edition 2009 (6 5/8 x 48), in the box of 10 for $246.95.

    El Triunfador Lancero (7 1/2 x 38) - the original - in boxes of 25 for $179.95.

    Henry Clay Toro Maduro (6 x 50), in boxes of 20 for $69.60.

    Lempira Series 2006 Torpedo (6 1/4 x 54), in boxes of 20 for $104.95.

    Murcielago:

  • Churchill (7 1/8 x 48), in boxes of 20 for $111.95;
  • Toro (6 1/8 x 50), also in 20s, for $111.95.
  • My Father Cedro Deluxe Eminentes (5 5/8 x 46), in the box of 23 for $171.95.

    My Father - Le Bijou 1922 Grand Robusto (5 5/8 x 55), also in boxes of 23 for $212.50.

    Romeo y Julieta Reserva Real Pequenos (41/2 x 38), in a brick of 25 (five tins of five) for $89.50.

    Vegas Cubanas Corona (5 1/2 x 44), in boxes of 25 for $119.50.

    Superior Cigars:
    Two great samplers from Drew Estate are on sale; look for these in the section marked "Manufacturer's Sample Packs"!

    Acid Collector's Tin, with 14 cigars, and the absolute best way to check out the entire Acid line, retails for $73.80, now just $39.90!

    Ambrosia Sampler, in an elegant chest with eight cigars, including two each of Mother Earth (6 x 50), Spice (6 x 54), Vann Reef (5 x 50) and Nectar (5 x 42), for $39.97, lowest we have seen.

    We'll have our Register & Win winner of the week announcement later today!
    ~ Rich Perelman

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