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The Mentor Company of Boston, Ma issued the T204 cards in their Ramly and T.T.T. Natural Turkish cigarette boxes in 1909. There are a total of 126 cards in the set.
At the time, Ramly and T.T.T. cigarettes were some of the most expensive cigarettes consumers could purchase.
Because of this, very few of these cards were ever retrieved from the cigarettes boxes and consequently, there is a limited supply of T204s today.
Ramly cigarette boxes come in two different clam shell variations; the all black background as pictured first above, and a semi-purple background pictured second above. Both styles of boxes are extremely difficult to locate but neither is rarer than the other (in my experience). Since 1997, I have only been able to document the existence of approximately 15 or so boxes in total.
There is also a third style of Ramly pack as shown to me by Scott Brockelman. This third style is a multi-colored pack with purple/violet being the predominant color on the front of the box. This Ramly box, however, is for plain tips style cigarettes. It measures smaller than other Ramly boxes and too small to have contained T204s so therefore would not have been used for the distribution of the set.
As rare as the Ramly cigarette boxes are, their rarity pales in comparison to T.T.T. cigarette boxes. Until recently, the T.T.T. cigarette box pictured above was the only known box. However, I have since been able to confirm the existence of an additional T.T.T. box. Like Ramly boxes, T.T.T. cigarette boxes are clam shell in design.
Approximate value of a Ramly cigarette box - $1000.00.
Approximate value of a T.T.T. cigarette box - $1500.00.
The Ramly and T.T.T. cigarette boxes pictured above are from the private collection of Scott Brockelman.
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