saving time in a cigar tin

I don’t think I’m crawling too far out on a limb by admitting that I often daydream of discovering a long-forgotten baseball card that has been safely squirreled away in some dark, dry corner of my world. It wouldn’t even have to be a significantly valuable card to make me happy either. A simple unexpected link to the distant past would be nice.

Who hasn’t heard a story of some couple tearing out a wall in an old home and finding a nest of old circus posters rolled up and serving as makeshift insulation between the studs? Of course such fantastic discoveries would never be possible if somebody hadn’t placed neat objects in the wall in the first place, then sealed it up and allowed time to perform its magic.

With that in mind, I did seal a couple of Barry Bonds cards in the walls of our house while I was remodeling our bathroom back in 2006. I don’t know who will find them, or under what circumstances, but I hope they appreciate the gesture. I also hope that the finder discovers some value in those cards, however value of such things may be determined at that point in the future when they are discovered.

This past week another stellar time capsule opportunity came knocking on my front doorstep and I simply could not refuse to answer like I would if it had been a couple of Jehovah’s Witnesses trying to hand me the latest issue of The Watchtower.


Having pooled resources, the city of Albuquerque and our historic neighborhood association have begun a project to replace broken and/or uneven sections of sidewalks, including a couple of segments in front of our house. Just before the work crew began pouring the concrete, I was able to bury a small tin box about 4 inches below the surface for some lucky son-of-a-gun to discover long after I have posted my last blog entry. The sidewalks segments that were replaced were constructed in the early 1920s, so I would hazard to guess that the tin might easily be sealed underground for the next 100 years, or possibly longer.

I’ve decided to share with you the contents of the time capsule since I don’t think there is much of a chance that any of you are going to spoil the surprise.


The box is a slender black tin that once contained 10 small cigars from Dannemann Brasil. The width of the tin prevented me from including any regular-sized baseball cards, but that didn’t matter since I had already decided to only include 2007 Allen & Ginter minis. The cards include Prince Fielder, Connor Jackson and Mike Napoli. I thought it was appropriate to include one of the Groundhog Day cards given the subterranean nature of the capsule.


Each of the cards was sealed in an individual plastic sleeve, then two were sealed in another sleeve, and finally the four were encased in another plastic bag. The person who discovers this package will likely win some type of scientific award for having finally solved the old riddle of what ever became of the world’s tape supply.


The tin also contains a single penny dated 2007, and four small bags of silica gel desiccant that I think will help draw any moisture that might happen to form inside the tin away from the cards. The bags are clearly labeled “Do Not Eat – Throw Away.” Hopefully that will prevent the finder from thinking the bags contain tea and brewing himself a cup of stupidity. Of course, they would probably be better off eating that stuff than anyone currently busting boxes of cards from the 1980s and dares to stick that old Topps gum in their mouth.


Finally, I placed my business card in the tin to help prevent the finder from wasting too much time wondering “who” would have done such a thing. Then the tin was placed in plastic and wrapped with tape several times over. Not that I expect the item needs waterproofing since it is going to live under a sidewalk in the high desert… but just as insurance in the event that my sprinkler system goes bananas and I flood the neighborhood.

I sat on the front porch of my 100-year-old house and watched while the workmen poured the concrete and smoothed the surface of the sidewalk with trowels. I thought about time and history, and my small role in it- chuckling to myself while watching the workmen trowel the sidewalk surface a second time after a neighbor’s dog tracked through on his way to make his own deposit of more urgency amongst my irises.

Then a strange thing happened. That same night I received an email from one of the people who lived in my house exactly 50 years ago. He had stumbled across the results of my historical research of the property on one of my other websites, and was intrigued enough to introduce himself and tell me what it was like living here half a century ago. Don’t get me wrong, I’m NOT suggesting that the two events are related in any way, but it was very nice to get a surprise from the past just hours after leaving one for the future.

– Kris

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2 Responses to “saving time in a cigar tin”

  1. chemgod Says:

    Being a chemist, I applaud you for putting silica gel into the container. Not too many people remember that one and their capsules become logged with water.

  2. whitesoxcards Says:

    Very cool idea!!

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