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Clean/Restore old cigar boxes from early 1900s

jgibvjgibv John G.Posts: 9,263 ✭✭✭✭✭
I recently came across about 10 old cigar boxes sitting on a shelf in my in-laws barn. 
These cigar boxes are from the early 1900s and have some great artwork/stickers on the inside lids of the boxes. While the interiors are in great condition, the outside of the boxes show some damage from dirt/water. 
I want to clean and restore the boxes so I can set them out for display but am not sure how to go about this...

So far, I've dried them out by storing them in a ziploc bag with rice to absorb any excess moisture, and have dusted them off with dry swiffer cloths, foam paint brushes, and compressed air but am not sure how to get rid of the remaining dirt & water stains. 
 
I've searched online and have seen some suggestions to use vinegar or soap & water but I'm hesitant to use liquid as I'm afraid it will cause more harm than good.

Any tips or suggestions would be much appreciated.
Pictures here <http://imgur.com/a/moDei&gt;
Thanks

* I have a new address as of 3/24/18 *

Comments

  • madurofanmadurofan Posts: 6,152
    This is outside my expertise but sounds like an awesome find, I'd love to see some pics.
  • jgibvjgibv John G.Posts: 9,263 ✭✭✭✭✭
    I think this one's in the best condition <img src="http://i.imgur.com/TwADzh.jpg" alt="Tropical Cigarillos" >. ="" Pictures of the others are here http://imgur.com/a/moDei

    * I have a new address as of 3/24/18 *

  • kuzi16kuzi16 Posts: 14,616 ✭✭✭✭
    be careful.
    sometimes restoring actually LOWERS the value.
    you may want to check out and/or contact the national cigar museum. they can be found with a simple search in any major search engine.
  • LasabarLasabar Posts: 4,473 ✭✭✭
    Either way... Awesome find... Treasure them!
  • HeavyHeavy Posts: 1,591 ✭✭✭
    Are they all cardboard / paper boxes? That's what it looks like. This is outside of my expertise as well but I would imagine the best you could do (if they are in fact cardboard/paper) was try to get the mold and dirt off of them. And +1 to what Kuzi said about contacting the Nat'l Cigar Museum and not doing too much 'restoration' on them.

    Oh yeah, and welcome!
  • ks861806ks861806 Posts: 1
    Ok thanks for the advice. I've sent an email to the cigar museum and will post the reply once I hear back
  • jgibvjgibv John G.Posts: 9,263 ✭✭✭✭✭
    ks861806:
    Ok thanks for the advice. I've sent an email to the cigar museum and will post the reply once I hear back

    Whoops....was accidentally signed in with the wife's account.

    * I have a new address as of 3/24/18 *

  • jgibvjgibv John G.Posts: 9,263 ✭✭✭✭✭
    Heavy:
    Are they all cardboard / paper boxes? That's what it looks like. This is outside of my expertise as well but I would imagine the best you could do (if they are in fact cardboard/paper) was try to get the mold and dirt off of them.


    Yes they're wood boxes with paper stickers & lining. I've tried my best to get the dirt and mold off without using any sort of liquid cleaners but unfortunately they're not coming very clean.
    I'm hesitant to clean them too vigorously or use a liquid cleaner as I don't want to cause any further damage.

    * I have a new address as of 3/24/18 *

  • jgibvjgibv John G.Posts: 9,263 ✭✭✭✭✭
    Update:

    I have sent a few e-mails to the National Cigar Museum and have not yet received a response.

    So as the holidays approach I would love to get these boxes cleaned up and put out for display, but I'm still afraid to do any vigorous cleaning as I don't want to do any further damage to the boxes.
    Pictures here

    At this point I'm thinking I won't be able to clean out the boxes as most of the paper lining on the interior is damaged and water stained/dirty. I'm contemplating trying to replace the paper lining the interior but I'm not sure how that would turn out.

    So if I can't get the interior of the boxes cleaned, I'm now considering removing the lids and framing them similar to these: Framed Lids

    I'd love to hear your input on which options I should pursue.....what are your thoughts?

    1) Is there anyone else I could contact for help with cleaning them?
    2) Should I continue to try and clean them on my own?
    3) Should I display them as is (dirt and all)?
    4) Should I remove the lids and have them framed?

    Thanks in advance for your input.

    * I have a new address as of 3/24/18 *

  • gmill880gmill880 Posts: 5,947
    Ahhhh ... that crazy game almost got me !!! When I clicked on the pictures .
  • I would leave them. Any restoration will ruin whatever value they have as antiques and could ruin them all together. They look cool as is! I'd just display them. Please leave them intact (don't frame the covers!)
  • jj20030jj20030 galveston islandPosts: 5,776 ✭✭✭✭✭
    Hippiebrian:
    I would leave them. Any restoration will ruin whatever value they have as antiques and could ruin them all together. They look cool as is! I'd just display them. Please leave them intact (don't frame the covers!)
    x2 all the people in the bidness say dont mess with them vintage things, thats theway they want them left
  • RhamlinRhamlin WVPosts: 7,442 ✭✭✭✭✭
    I think they look great as is.
  • jgibvjgibv John G.Posts: 9,263 ✭✭✭✭✭
    Thanks for the opinions guys.
    I guess I'll leave them as is unless I hear about a "professional" who could clean and restore them for me.

    * I have a new address as of 3/24/18 *

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