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Really Old Coupons

Is any of that junk in your attic worth some money? How do you sort the trash from the treasure? CBS News Saturday Morning continues its series with collectibles expert Tony Hyman.

Michigan viewer Judy Brandt sent a sample of her 900 United Cigar Store coupons and wants to know what they are worth.

United Cigar Stores was a giant retail chain with 3,000 stores coast to coast. There were 160 of them in New York City alone.

Until around 1930, United was the marketing arm of American Tobacco Company, which gave coupons every time you bought one of its brands. They included 18 cigarette brands, 30 cigars, 60 plug tobacco brands and more than 100 brands of smoking tobacco.

"United also made deals with companies like Wrigleys and Swifts, who put United coupons in their products," said Hyman.

Coupons were redeemable by mail from catalogs or at any of 250 redemption centers.

Ninety years ago, her 900 coupons would be worth a man's gold-filled watch or six place settings of Rogers silver plate flatware. Four thousand coupons would get her a room size oriental style rug. With 5,000 she could get a Remington automatic shotgun. And, a whopping 25,000 coupons could get her a four-wheel Studebaker carriage, without the horse.

Today is a different story. The coupons are worth a couple of cents apiece to collectors. One of the rare ones, however, could bring a buck.

Go to Tony Hyman's Web site for more information on tobacco history and other collectibles. He is the author of the Handbook of American Cigar Boxes.

Previous CBS News Saturday Morning segments with collectibles expert Tony Hyman are available in the collectibles archive.

If you think you have a collectible worth a lot of cash, send an email to: Put "What's it Worth?" in the subject line, or write to: "What's it Worth?" CBS News Saturday Morning, 514 West 57th Street, 6th floor, New York, New York 10019.

Please note that because of the volume of mail received, Saturday Morning can't respond to all requests, but some will be selected and featured on the show in the near future.

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