Automobile mileage reminder advertising premium used to track oil changes.  Brass. 1930's(?)​​

Ben Bey Cigars     

Welcome! My name is Paul Lefkovitz and I developed this web site.  I have been an avid collector of antique advertising memorabilia for many years.  I enjoy trying to conjure up the look and feel of the general store of yesteryear.  Collecting Ben Bey Cigar and related collectables is one of my special areas of interest.

It was approximately 30 years ago that I acquired a beautiful tin cigar box depicting a "sheik" on horseback, striding at full gallop.  I examined it carefully for details so I could learn more about it.  I noticed that the design had been copyrighted by a person named Nathan Elson in Chicago.  "Elson" rang a bell for I had some relatives on my mother's side by that name.  I also seemed to recall that, many years ago, some of my mother's forbearers were involved with a cigar factory in Chicago.  Could I possibly be holding in my hand an artifact of my mother's ancestry?

I soon learned that Nathan Elson was my grandfather's first cousin and that the cigar factory had been a part of family lore for decades.  In fact, it conjured up recollections of my mother talking about the successful cigar factory that helped out relatives coming from the "old country" early in the 20th century.

Being the active collector that I was, and have always been, I soon found myself lovingly seeking out additional Ben Bey collectables.  I also wished to learn more about the context that produced these fascinating items and began researching the history of Nathan Elson and his company.  Aided by my genealogist wife, historian daughter, and fellow-collector son, I eventually pulled together the assemblage of artifacts and information that is represented within this web site. All of the items, unless otherwise noted, are from my personal collection.

I would love to correspond with other collectors and Elson family members about Ben Bey Cigars.  Also, please let me know if you have a photo, item, or information not represented on this web site and would like for it to be included.  I continue to be an active buyer of Ben Bey material.  Feel free to complete the "Contact Us" section on the home page to touch base with me for any reason.  This web site should be viewed as a work in progress.  Hopefully, the story of Nathan Elson and Ben Bey will continue to be fleshed out in recognition of their accomplishments and the unique place in time they once occupied. 

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