It's only been within the last 25 years that condom tins have been collected to any degree but the condom has been around for nearly 3,000 years. First reports of their usage was by the Egyptians as far back as 1,000 B.C. Some feel though that it was the Roman soldier's desire to avoid the "Mount Vesuvius Rash" that started it all. When the Roman Empire
Condom derives from the Latin word "condus" meaning "receptacle". Others say that there was a Dr. Condom who lent his name to the device. Will we ever know? A condom is one of many prophylactic devices that either protected men from various sexual diseases or prevented (hopefully) the conception of a child.
One popular myth(?) about the development of today's modern condom was that in 1921, Alfred Trogan stuck his erect member into a vat of vulcanized rubber. Possible? But not very likely.
To find out a whole lot more, get a copy of the book described below. If you're a condom tin collector, be sure you let this editor know of any tins, their manufacturers, or further details that are not documented in any book. Thanks.
Remember Your Rubbers! Collectible Condom Containers With Values; ISBN: 0-7643-0414-3, Hardcover with dust jacket, 160 pgs, by G.K. Elliott, George Goehring, Dennis O'Brien; Schiffer Publishing Ltd., 4880 Lower Valley Road, Atglen, PA. 19310.
These authors have taken the bull by the horn and come out with the first book on the highly collectible condom and prophylactic tins. Besides presenting the coveted tin containers, the many other forms of condom packaging and advertising are covered, unfolding a fabulous social history of our time.
The rubber's or rubber condom's history begins in the 1820's and is brought up to date with information on the it's development and distribution. They have brought to light many previously unknown facts about the rubber and it's packaging, often comical and perhaps a little embarrassing for readers.
After the first seven pages of text, pictures of tin and paper packaging abound, a number of them with fronts and backs illustrated. Turning the pages, brands are listed in alphabetical order, reveals not only the great variety, but further information. The reader should carefully read the added notes provided; they're both informative and highly interesting.
Most entries have either a dollar value or some indication as to the tin's rarity. I wish the authors had given some clue as to what their rarity comments really mean, and how they relate to possible prices/values.
The other piece of information missing is the container's condition and it's relationship to the prices (and or rarity) given.The reader is left on one's own to determine if $225 is a good price to pay for a "Napoleons" in near mint or only in good condition.
For the rubber (condom) container collector, this is an absolute must book to own. Other collectors and dealers will find it very interesting and enlightening. I highly recommend it's purchase.
Authors Dennis and George offer to answer reader questions about rubber containers by calling them at (410 889-3964. G.K. Elliott may be reached at (303) 797-8069.
If you wish to order your book over the internet, Amazon Books is selling it for $29.95 (no discount at the present time), while Barnes & Noble has it selling at $20.96 plus S&H. I didn't see this book in L-W Books Catalog listing yet, or you purchase for $24.95 including US postage from Tim King, an established E-Bay seller, by sending a check (no credit cards) Tim King, Dept. TG, P.O. Box 11364, Portland, ME, 04104.
Critique by editor Mike Reilly 5/7/98
Another Review off the Web
Condoms growing as collectibles NEW YORK (Reuters) - Few people will admit to being part of the trend, but condoms are on the rise as collectibles. It was bound to happen. As the AIDS epidemic made sexual disease prevention a public concern, prophylactics have become matter-of-fact enough to be advertised liberally in drugstores and on the Internet. While this type of collecting is not generally table talk, three collectors have come out with a book safe enough for the coffee table. "Remember Your Rubbers!" by G.K. Elliott, George Goehring and Dennis O'Brien (Schiffer Publishing) has color photos of hundreds of vintage condom containers, with resale values of up to $2,000. "We decided it's time to do a book, especially since prices started going up 1-1/2 years ago," said Elliott. For years, the only information available on rubber tin containers was a 1976 copy of Playbox magazine with a two-page spread featuring 15 tins, he added. "Now when you walk into an (antique) store and ask for rubber tins, people don't scratch their heads any more. You don't get any more weird looks." Elliott said he personally knows of about 25 people who also collect other types of advertising. "There's obviously a lot more out there because we see prices zooming up at auction houses," he said. Christie's, which declined to be interviewed for this article, sold a 19th century condom made of animal skin at an auction in July 1992 for 3,000 pounds ($5,000), according to Condomania founder and owner Adam Glickman. The item features an illustration of a sitting nun surrounded by a group of monks, all with their robes pulled and ready for a good time. A similar contraceptive with a silk string sold for 2,200 pounds ($3,700) in November 1992, Glickman said. It is decorated with a drawing of a woman leaning on a chair, with a man dressed in formal attire behind her. These elaborate antiques remain because they were meant to be washed and reused, while condoms made of rubber or latex from this century were cheap and disposable. Last year, an extremely rare 1920s Blue Goose brand rubber tin sold for $2,000 through a telephone auction, Elliott said. The owner had bought it just two months earlier for $180. A Blue Ribbon Deluxe tin went for $900 this year. Scarcity is the main reason for such high prices. "People didn't keep them around to store things in, as they did other early advertising," Elliot and his co-authors said in their book. "Not only were they too small for storing things, but people were too embarrassed to keep them around and, despite their beautiful graphics, hastily discarded them after use." Until the 1950s, even buying rubbers was a clandestine affair, with retailers placing orders with "pencil men" for, say, "a gross of Trojan pencils" over the phone. Users bought them in exclusively male haunts like barbershops, shoeshine parlors and pool halls, or through machine dispensers in restrooms. But such uptight attitudes are history, which is currently on display at an exhibition in the city of Condom, France. The city, the fabled home of a prophylactic-wearing priest centuries ago, is planning to build a museum dedicated to condoms, said University of Paris Professor Jacques Gonzales, a consultant on the project. The Chinese used lightly oiled silk tubes 2,000 years ago, while the Romans made condoms from muscular tissue stripped from their enemies' upper arms, Elliott said. Most collectors, however, have to be content with packaging from this century, which have been found tucked away in such places as the back seats of old Chevies, barns and old fishing tackle boxes, he added. Vintage boxes with their original contents are extremely rare. All the packages say "Sold for the prevention of disease only" because it was a federal crime under the Mann Act to transmit information across state lines about birth control, Elliott said. Values depend on how many boxes of a kind are on the market, the condition of the packaging and crossover interest. Champ brand paper packs, for instance, are worth $125 each because they each feature a golfer, boxer, football hero or other athlete that sports collectors care about, Elliott said. Rectangular and round tins with colored pictures made from the late 1920s through late 1950s are valuable because of their age and rarity. Aluminum tins such as those for Three Merry Widows brand are thought to have been made between the First World War and the mid-1930s. As for contemporary condoms, "look for something that will mean something historically to people in the future," Elliott said. "There's always an item that will be commemorative that's cheap now and a year from now will sell for $100 later." This hardcover guide with 275 color photos and 144 6" x 9" pages is brand new with a cover price of $29.95.
This book is on the eBay auction block if you wish to acquire one this way, find it by trying several keywords in your Search.
Other Books on the Subject
The Condom Industry in the United States by James S. Murphy, Hardcover, Published by McFarland & Company, Publication date: December 1990, ISBN: 0899505333
Booknews, Inc. , 07/01/91: A former vice president of a condom manufacturing company reviews the industry's historical background and evolution, the manufacturing process, cost factors, the distribution structure, competition, regulation, consumer acceptance, societal costs, and profits from an economic point of view. Annotation copyright Book News, Inc. Portland, Or.
Looking for Dr. Condom by William E Kruck Catalog Number: 0817300678
101 Other Uses for a Condom by Glenn Haumann, Paperback, Published by Apple Pr, Publication date: June 1991, ISBN: 0927203057.
Complete Illustrated Condom Handbook by Tyrone Throb, Paperback, Published by Timothy Grant McNeel, Publication date: October 1987, ISBN: 0961972602.
The Condom Encyclopedia : What Size Is Your Condom? by Gary M. Griffin, Paperback, Published by Added Dimensions Pub, Publication date: August 199, ISBN: 1879967146
Reviews and Commentary for The Condom Encyclopedia : What Size Is Your Condom?
[email protected] from Baltimore, MD , 02/16/98, rating=10: Ribbed, Flavored, Lubricated....and then some!!! How do you go about choosing the right condom? Do you just go to the supermarket or drug store and buy what you think looks good? Well, if you do...then you're really missing out!!! This book is a comprehensive collection of condoms...with detailed explainations of the many different varieties out there on the market. There is even a history of the condom section! I'm telling you...if you use condoms, this book is a must-have!
The Great Cover Up : A Condom Compendium by Susan Simet, Victor Goodman, Paperback, Published by Civan, Publication date: February 1989, ISBN: 0962170003.
History of the Condom, Vhs Video Edition , VHS Tape, Published by INTERNATIONAL HISTORIC FILMS, Publication date: January 1996, ISBN: 6303909094.
Condom Mania : The Illustrated Condom Handbook by M. K. Neilman, Catalog Number: 0944170005.
Condomania : 101 Uses for a Condom by Peter Maddocks, Catalog Number: 1557850526
Johnny Come Lately : Short History of the Condom by Jeannette Parisot, Catalog Number: 1851720006.
Recent Developments in Prophylactic Immunisation, Arie J. Zuckerman(Editor), ISBN#: 0792389107, Publisher: Kluwer Academic Publishers, Format: Hardcover, Publication Date: January 1989.
Trials of Prophylactic Agents for the Control of Communicable Diseases: A Guide to Their Organization & Evaluation, T. M. Pollock , ISBN#: 9241400528, Publisher: World Heal, Format: Paperback Publication Date: January 1966.
American Sex Machines: The Hidden History of Sex at the U.S. Patent Office by Hoag Levins, ISBN: 1-55850-534-2.