Two SMALL vintage tobacco premium flag silks - with the Spanish national flag and the royal flag of Spanish Monarchy royal ruling family - distributed between 1911 and 1916 by Sovereign and Egyptienne Cigarettes, as part of their popular Flags of the World Series. Sovereign Cigarettes and Egyptienne Cigarettes, both made in New York, were two of several brands sold by the American Tobacco Company. "Spain" is printed next to each flag image. The cigarette brand and the factory number and location are printed along the lower and upper margins. SMALL flag silks measure 3" x 1".
Spain occupies the greater part of Iberian peninsula which it shares with Portugal. As a result the Spanish exploration of much of the new world, the Spanish language is the official language of most South American, Central American, Caribbean islands, and Mexico, as well as heavily spoken in the Southwestern United States.
This brightly colored national flag - a yellow field with two narrow red stripes near the top and bottom - is known officially as the Civil Ensign, and was Spain's national flag from 1785 until the fascist revolution in 1931.
This flag identified as the Royal Standard of Spain - a field of red with a crown over the Spanish coat of arms in the center - the flag of the Spanish royal family prior to the fascist revolution in 1931.
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: Tobacco silks often show their age. Since the borders of tobacco silks are almost never finished, they are usually frayed, and on some silks the name "Sovereign Cigarettes" and the factory information are partially, and sometimes completely, obliterated by fraying along the borders. These are both unusual in that the lettering on the top and bottom is both completely intact. There are also 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 this scanned image.
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