How To Properly Date And Identify A Cigar Box

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Justin R.

Cigar Enthusiast, Chief Editor

how to date a cigar box
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Any seasoned cigar lover understands that maintaining a cigar collection takes time and patience. There’s more to enjoying a stogie than cutting and lighting it. Knowing how to date a cigar box is an integral part of identifying the cigar’s quality and flavor.

Here at Cigar Amigo, we took the time to research the right way to date a cigar box to help our readers understand the process. As a result, you should be able to date cigar boxes like a pro after reading this article.

Continue below to learn more about dating cigar boxes and why it’s important when choosing your next set of stogies. 

How to Date a Cigar Box

Cigar boxes contain codes that display a few bits of information such as factory code, and the date they were packed. For example, a cigar box might have a code like “RUEFeb19”. In that case “RUE” is the factory code and February 19 is when it was packed.

Knowing the order of cigar box stamps makes it easy to know where and when your stogies were packed. Moreover, you can have a clear idea of how fresh and premium the cigars are inside.

Whether you’re thinking about gifting a cigar box to someone or want to add the cigars to your own collection, you must know everything about cigar box dating.

Do Cigar Boxes Have Dates?

If you’ve somehow stumbled upon old cigar boxes, you might have noticed the codes and date stamps. For those that aren’t avid cigar enthusiasts, these codes may not make sense.

The dates on the cigar box lid or bottom designate when the cigars were placed inside, and is a vital piece of information in the cigar industry.

Note that these dates indicate when the cigars are ready for sale, and are not the same as the tobacco harvest. Cigar maker’s can take anywhere from 1-2 years to harvest and process their tobacco before their cigars are ready to be sold.

The entire process takes this long due to increased quality control in the industry.

That said, you can use the date stamp to get a better idea of when the tobacco inside was harvested. 

For example, if the date reads “FEB2019”, you know the tobacco was harvested anywhere between 2017 and 2019.

Understanding Cuban Cigars Box Codes

Understanding Cuban Cigars Box Codes

Cuban cigars are by far one of the most popular stogies worldwide. They are most notable for their exclusivity, high-grade tobacco, and smooth consistent flavor. That said, codes on Cuban cigar boxes can be somewhat confusing as they don’t uphold to industry standards.

For starters, the months in the codes are in Spanish. So, it can be quite confusing if you don’t have a basic understanding of the language.

The first boxes for Cuban cigars were created and shipped out by an English banker living in Cuba. He wanted a way to ship Cuban cigars to his friends in England, so they could enjoy the immense flavor and quality they had to offer.

Prior to this, a cigar maker would lay strips of Spanish cedar wood between the tobacco leaves. He instead built boxes made fully out of cedar wood so the Cuban cigars inside would still be fresh when they arrived in England. 

Word caught on about this method, and it’s what started the modern cigar boxes we see today.

Cuban Cigar Boxes Before 1960

If you can find a cigar box from Cuba that was made before 1960, you shouldn’t have any issues reading the date. That’s because the tax stamps and registration dates were all in English and Spanish.

This all changed though after the Cuban revolution. Any containers made afterwards contain only Spanish writing on the stamps.

Containers from 1960-1985

Cuba decided to remove the printed labels from their cigar containers in 1960. The only information you might see  is a label saying “hecho en Cuba”, which translates to “Made in Cuba”.

Some also contain optional information such as  “hecho a mano” or “handmade”. These are often considered the best quality cigars in the country.

Post 1985

After 1985, Cuban cigar sellers started to add more information to their labels. The whole box will have insights such as a factory number or code, manufacturing date, caution notice, tax paid notices, and possibly a short filler about the production process.

When it comes to Cuban cigars, high-quality tobacco is a must. So you might even find a story about the good harvest the cigar factory used to make the stogies inside. 

Are Cigar Boxes Worth Anything?

Are Cigar Boxes Worth Anything

If you’ve come across an old cigar box, you may be wondering if it has any monetary value. While it’s not likely to be worth a ton of cash, there are some cases where you can cash out on a cigar box.

To determine a cigar box’s value, you need to consider the brand, origin production method, age, and size of the cigars. If it’s from a reliable cigar seller, like El Laguito or Romeo Y Juliet, you’ll probably get a better price.

Historical factors and rarity are a huge indicator of how much a cigar box is worth. Some people collect cigar containers, and are willing to pay a good price for those with historical value. There are reports of some being sold for around $5,000.

The Difference Between a Cigar Box and a Humidor

The Difference Between a Cigar Box and a Humidor

Although many use the phrases interchangeably, a cigar box and a humidor are completely different items. A cigar box is the container you buy your cigar quantities in. The containers are typically made out of either cardboard or wood.

Humidors are sealed containers typically made from Spanish cedar wood that are designed to keep your cigars fresh. They contain a humidification source that retains moisture and prevents your stogies from drying up.

Maintaining a humidor is a whole other topic. However, it’s an integral part of owning cigars.


Knowing how to date a cigar box will tremendously enhance your stogie experience. While it can be tricky at first, it’s quite easy once you understand all the codes and what they mean.

To sum it up, cigar dating includes reading the label containing the date of packing, factory/ country of origin, caution notices, and other important insights.

Once you get the hang of it, you can easily identify the quality of the cigars inside. As a result, it’s far easier to purchase high-quality stogies to add to your collection.