Melvin Aiken Goes to War
When Lucky Strike went to war, so did my Pop, Melvin Aiken, and in 1943 he began collecting cigarette packs as he trained to fly in the Army Air Force Pacific fleet. Many things changed when he returned from the war: Pop abandoned his dream to homestead in Alaska but married the love of his life (Helen Ballasohn) and began a family. Gradually, his collection grew until tragedy struck and a case of what we would now call “workplace violence” left Pop blind and immeasurably depressed. Unable to see and enjoy his cigarette packs, his zeal for collecting them waned. Yet, the marvels of American medical science never cease to amaze, and experimental eye surgeries and cornea transplant operations enabled him to regain limited vision. The colors of his cigarette collection dazzled his eyes and he sought out packs from all across America (and the world).
For Pop, collecting cigarette packs became an inspirational hobby. He became close friends with other collectors through The Cigarette Pack Collectors Association, and gained pleasure from the stories they and their cigarettes told. Even after he quit smoking, he continued to collect packs and regale visitors to his home with stories told in front of his two giant self-built cigarette display cases. We grew up enamored of the beauty and history of the cigarette packs though neither my brother nor myself (Mel’s grandsons) smoked. Pop and Bubby recently passed away after 65 wonderful years of marriage and left these packs in our hands. Rather than hoard a collection too big for either of us to manage, we are sharing Pop’s inspiration with you and other collectors (don’t worry – we’ve kept a few for ourselves!). Pass on the legacy and share your own story!
**For more great stories about cigarette collecting, subscribe to Brandstand, the magazine of The Cigarette Pack Collectors Association. Many thanks to President Dick Elliott for helping me sort through this collection.**
11 thoughts on “About This Collection”
Would. Like. To. Subscribe. Call.e. 717 636 2532
Hi I am ladies passing show cigarettes.
If you have let y.
Hi I am interested in passing show cigarettes.
If you have let me know.
Where do I find a pack of murads sealed.
Some time ago I bought from you an you were kind enough to give number have since lost it here is mine William (Bill) Eason 310 Camellia Lane Indianola Miss 38751. Phone 6626446247
Do You Purchase Un-opened Cellophane wrapped from the late 1950’s thru early 1970’s?
Like to sell Pakistani empty cigarette packets ,no advance required, postage is free.Interested
friends are requested to write for scanned pages for his approval.All thre best.
I am hoping someone can help me find out when a pack of cigarettes were made. I found a really old pack of old gold no filter cigarettes in a box of my great grandfather’s. They say series 121 on the box. I called the company that bought them out and they said they can’t go back that far. They have to be from the 1960s or older I think. I don’t really know where else to go and saw this blog🙈 Any help would be amazing.
Hi which Brand you have.I am looking for Passing show if you have let me know.