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The legacy of design for rolling paper packaging is some of the best you’ll ever find

In the old days smokers had to cut squares from a large sheet of paper and stuff the excess in their pockets for later use. A Dominican priest was the first to cut small sheets, to the same size and place them between two card stocks for protection.

In 1815 the famed town of Alicante, Spain began manufacturing this ubiquitous product. By 1850 the Spainish patent office saw the registration of 50 new brands of rolling papers. Tobacco use was growing worldwide, and the market was booming so in order to differentiate their products special attention was paid to the design of the packaging.

Most of these survive today because of a single collector named Antoni Segarra Dalmases, who actually has a “Guinness Book of World Records” title for the largest collection of rolling paper booklets. These examples you see here were excerpted from José Lorente’s book on the subject. It’s currently out of print but can be found on the secondary re-sale market.


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