Where does the saying ?close, but no cigar? originate?

There is a consensus among wordsmiths that
There is a consensus among wordsmiths that “close, but no cigar” – which means that “a near miss is still a miss” – is an American expression that originated at carnival fairgrounds. The prize in an amusement park today is likely to be an oversized stuffed animal. But in the first half of the last century, it was often a cigar. <P>There is no consensus, however, regarding the type of contest for which the cigar was awarded. One theory is that if you failed to ring a bell with a sledgehammer, you were told that your effort was “close, but no cigar.” Another theory is that many carnival games, not just the sledgehammer one, used a cigar as a prize. The expression made its first newspaper appearance in 1949. </P>
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