SMALL vintage tobacco premium flag silk - Central America country 1906 Costa Rica national flag - distributed by Sovereign Cigarettes on a small 3-inch by 1-inch vintage tobacco silk insert distributed with its cigarette packages. Flag silks for Latin American countries were distributed between 1911 and 1916 with Sovereign Cigarettes, as part of its popular Flags of America series. SMALL flag silks measure 3" x 1".
Sovereign Cigarettes, made at factories in New York, was one of several brands sold by the American Tobacco Company. "Costa Rica" is printed under the image of the flag. "Sovereign Cigarettes" and the factory number and location are printed along the borders.
The earliest version of the current flag of Costa Rica with the Coat of Arms in the center was adopted in 1848, and since then have been no significant changes. The Coat of Arms was put in a circle from 1906 to 1934. The state flag with the Coat of Arms is only for government uses; a flag without the Coat of Arms is used as a civil flag by citizens of Costa Rica.
The Costa Rican flag consists of five horizontal stripes: A red stripe located in the center, between two white stripes, which are between two blue stripes. The width of each stripe is 1/6 of the total width of the flag, except the red stripe, which is 2/6 of the total width. Each color represents important aspects of Costa Rica: Blue means the sky, opportunities at reach, intellectual thinking, perseverance to accomplish a goal, infinite, eternity, and ideals of the religious and spiritual desires. White means clear thinking, happiness, wisdom, power and beauty of the sky, the driving force of initiatives to search for new endeavors, and the peace of Costa Rica. Red means the warmth of Costa Rican people, their love to live, their blood shed for freedom, and their generous attitude.
During the early 20th Century, American Tobacco Company was one of a number of cigarette companies that gave free "silks", flannels or leather to customers who purchased their tobacco products. These textile items were distributed either as an "insert" (sometimes in an envelope, into the tobacco packaging, and sometimes attached to the outside) or as a "premium" (given away in exchange for coupons inserted in the packaging). The small 3" x 1" silks were usually inserts in the product. The larger silks were usually premiums given in exchange for coupons.
The cigarette "silk" was one of the most popular of the textile tobacco inserts or premiums. They were often beautifully polychrome printed, with a number of different themes. And although called "silks" they were actually made from a variety of fabrics such as silk or silk satin, a cloth combination of silk and cotton, a cotton sateen or even a plain woven cotton. Tobacco silks and flannels were often used by women to make quilts and other textile objects. (It is thought that distributing these textiles with tobacco products may have been a marketing strategy to entice women into smoking cigarettes.)
CONDITION NOTE: Good condition for a tobacco silk, which often shows its age. Since the borders of tobacco silks are almost never finished, they are usually frayed, and this one is no exception. On some silks "Sovereign Cigarettes" and the factory information are partially, and sometimes completely, obliterated by fraying along the borders. On others, both are completely intact. There are also usually a few slight wrinkles, which may disappear with a careful pressing on delicate setting. Areas of minor age fabric discoloration are much less noticeable in person than in the scanned images. #01-0433L-1d
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