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Gentleman's Military Interest Club
Harry Fecitt

Military & Empire Cigarette & Trade Cards

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One of my favourite sets.

Indian Regiments, a set of 50 cards, inserted in W.D. & H.O. Wills Ltd Scissor cigarettes. 1912.

Scissor cigarettes were sold in India and the military personnel there were big customers.

Expect to pay up to ten pounds sterling for a Very Good or Excellent card (if you can find one in that condition).

This card shows a Jemadar (Native Lieutenant) of the 74th Punjabis.

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Victoria Cross Heroes a set of 48 cards by Ogdens Ltd, 1901.

This card depicts Trooper Herbert S. Henderson VC, Bulawayo Field Force, Rhodesia, 30th March 1896.

'For unselfish devotion to a wounded comrade whom he brought in after two days and a night of great peril.'

Cost: 15 pounds sterling or more per card in VG condition.

All these images have been scanned through the protective plastic sheet, and so clarity and colour have suffered, but the artwork remains to be admired.

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A classic set.

A set of 50 British Medals & Ribbons by Taddy & Company. 1912.

15 pounds sterling or more per card when you can find them in VG condition on the market.

This kind of item will never appeal to the modern electronically minded and switched-on generation that craves new and shiny things, but for those of us left who appreciate non-computerised craftsmanship these 100-year old cards are beautiful to look at.

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The South African War was a very popular theme for cigarette card issuers.

These are from Wills set of 66 cards titled Transvaal Series. 1901 & 1902.

You should find them priced at between 2 and 10 pounds sterling per card. The price variation depends upon differences in the printing styles of the three issues of the set.

Here four cards join together to make a map. This is a good example of the educational value of cigarette cards to the less-affluent members of the public who did not buy newspapers.

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Egyptian Sketches. A set of 10 extra-large cards issued in Navy Cut Cigarettes by John Player & Sons. 1915.

Expect to pay from three pounds sterling upwards per card, when you see them.

Cigarette and trade cards often provide interesting, and in this case also amusing, social commentaries.

The text on the rear of this card reads:

As the ordinary tourist has but little opportunity of seeing the real work done by the British soldier in occupation, the general idea is taken from his evening manoeuvres at the various hotel dances, where he appears spick and span in full uniform, looking in the "pink", and right up in the firing line where the fun is thickest. Being generally long and thin he occupies but little space when standing up, but when posed in a sitting or lounging attitude one begins not only to realise his real occupation of the ballroom, but his complete monopoly. The lounge of Shepheard's Hotel is a favourite nest for the long legged type. He gets himself snugly ensconced alongside a pretty girl, with a comfortable background of oriental cushions, pushes his legs well out, and remains right in the picture for the rest of the evening, in everybody's way except the lady's.

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What tickled the ladies' fancies the most - the medals or the moustache?

One of a set of 14 cards issued in 1901 with the Tab Cigarettes of Ogdens Ltd and titled Photograph of International Interest or a Prominent British Officer.

You should be able to buy the complete set for around 10 pounds sterling, but cards in VG condition are hard to find.

The text on the rear reads:

Major Sir Claude M. MacDonald, KCB, KCMG, Envoy Extraordinary and Minister Plenipotentiary, at the Court of Pekin, China.

For Sir Claude's role during the Boxer Rebellion refer to: http://www.kaiserscr...501/306501.html

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Medals, a set of 50 issued in 1906 by W.D. & H.O. Wills Ltd.

Expect to pay four or five pounds sterling per card, when you can find them.

The text on the rear reads:

JAVA 1811. This expedition from India, composed of British and Indian troops, under Lt-Gen Sir C. Auchmuty, defeated the Dutch forces in the island of Java. This brilliant victory gained for us the last and most important of the Dutch possessions east of the Cape of Good Hope.

Edited by Harry Fecitt

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Personally I find the portrait cards to be the best. i am sure there is many an obscure soldier/General/etc. who, if you are looking for a picture today, can only be found on a ciggie card.

I am also sure that these would be totally forbidden today in most countries.

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Nice cards, I have a few sets of WWI onwards, the usual Players 1930's sets on cap badges, colours, RAF crests, that sort of thing. Quite a few "silks" on regimental crests & the like, including some of Lee's buttons - small square patches of silk that are supposed to be wrapped around padded bits of card to mak "button badges".

I have the usual mixed bag of Kensitas flags of the world type silks. Father in law gets away with having a couple of big frames of RAF crests & aircraft on the walls, the best I can manage to have on display in my house are a batch of silks showing items of Chinese porcelain.

To a "proper" collector condition is all important, but I'd rather pay a few pence for a scruffy card than loads of money for a mint condition one, my interest is what's on the card not how pristine it is.

Some of the cards on cavalry drum banners & the like are about the only reference to the subject around, but whereas some are very accurate, others are very inaccurate.

I like some of the decorative albums too, they used to be had for pennies as the cards were glued in & thereby "ruined" but nowadays they seem to have really increased in price.

Keep them coming please, they are very interesting & attractive.

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As mentioned in the previous post, some sets of cards issued in the 1930s had adhesive backs, and special albums could be bought for them from tobacconists' shops.

Cards are only catalogued when loose and clean, but the albumed adhesive sets are worth collecting in their own right. They look good and the albums can contain other interesting sketches.

This is a page from the set of 50 Uniforms of the Territorial Army issued byJohn Player & Sons in 1939.

Expect to pay up to 50 pounds sterling for a set in VG condition - but be aware that loose adhesive-backed cards can be ruined if damp gets at them

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Interesting - no sign of the KCB - clearly awarded between photographing and printing of card...

What tickled the ladies' fancies the most - the medals or the moustache?

One of a set of 14 cards issued in 1901 with the Tab Cigarettes of Ogdens Ltd and titled Photograph of International Interest or a Prominent British Officer.

You should be able to buy the complete set for around 10 pounds sterling, but cards in VG condition are hard to find.

The text on the rear reads:

Major Sir Claude M. MacDonald, KCB, KCMG, Envoy Extraordinary and Minister Plenipotentiary, at the Court of Pekin, China.

For Sir Claude's role during the Boxer Rebellion refer to: http://www.kaiserscr...501/306501.html

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Hi,

there are alos small silk cards, are they cigarette cards as well? they are a bit bigger, with similar motives, would have to have been folded in the packs though....

Yes, silks of various sizes, some had to be folded a couple of times to fit packs.

Edited by leigh kitchen

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Guest IMHF

What tickled the ladies' fancies the most - the medals or the moustache?

One of a set of 14 cards issued in 1901 with the Tab Cigarettes of Ogdens Ltd and titled Photograph of International Interest or a Prominent British Officer.

You should be able to buy the complete set for around 10 pounds sterling, but cards in VG condition are hard to find.

The text on the rear reads:

Major Sir Claude M. MacDonald, KCB, KCMG, Envoy Extraordinary and Minister Plenipotentiary, at the Court of Pekin, China.

For Sir Claude's role during the Boxer Rebellion refer to: http://www.kaiserscr...501/306501.html

I really like this one, I wonder if they made any of these for the Kingdom of Iraq?

Lorenzo

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A "Silk" insert

Some cigarette manufacturers inserted cloth pictures into cigarette packets instead of cards. These became known as "silks".

They could have a practical use in that some ladies sewed them on to cushion covers.

If an issuer wished to put text onto the rear of a silk then he had to paste a thin card backing onto it.

During the Great War silk issues of military badges and crests were hugely popular. Some collectors specialise in silk issues, and they store them very carefully.

This is from a very hard to find set of 40 medium sized silks issued by Major Drapkin & Co Ltd in 1915 and titled Regimental Colours and Badges of the Indian Army.

Expect to pay up to five pounds sterling for one of these - if you ever see them.

Edited by Harry Fecitt

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The British Empire was a very popular theme for cigarette card issuers.

This is from a set of 50 cards issued by W.D. & H.O. Wills Ltd in 1910 and titled Arms of the British Empire.

The text on the rear reads:

The arms of this colony date from the 17th Century, and shew the Cross of Saint George charged with five pine-apples. The supporters are two Indians, each wearing an apron of feathers, the female holding a basket of fruit and the male a bow. The crest is a crocodile on a log. This is the only instance of a colony using a sovereign's helmet with its arms.

You should be able to buy a decent full set for 30 pounds sterling or less.

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A "Trade" Card

When cards are issued by companies or organisations that do not sell tobacco, then they are referred to and catalogued as Trade Cards.

Trade Cards are generally much more modern and less expensive than cigarette cards.

This is an old card issued by J.S. Fry & Sons Ltd in 1915. The set contains 25 cards and is titled Rule Britannia.

Expect to pay uo to seven or eight pounds sterling for each card in VG condition.

The text on the rear reads:

It is only fairly recently that the War Office turned to this line of defence. Mr Glenn Curtis may be said to have introduced these machines in the early part of 1911, when he carried out very successful experiments at San Francisco. A plane with a lifting capacity of 450 feet per minute, carrying a gun and 300 rounds of ammunition, and fitted with a 100 h.p. engine, is capable of travelling at a speed varying from 45 to 75 miles per hour. GOD SAVE THE KING.

Edited by Harry Fecitt

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A trade Card issued by Home & Colonial Stores Ltd during the Great War. There were 40 medium sized cards in the set which was titled War Heroes.

Expect to pay around seven pounds sterling for each card in VG condition.

The text on the rear reads:

Lance-Corporal William Kenny VC. Awarded VC for rescuing wounded men near Ypres, on five occasions, under very heavy fire, and for twice previously saving machine guns by carrying them out of action. On numerous occasions he conveyed urgent messages under very dangerous circumstances.

William Kenny was a Drummer in the 2nd Bn The Gordon Highlanders. He rose to become a Drum Major and he died in 1936.

Edited by Harry Fecitt

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One of a set of 6 large circular cards titled British Medals issued by Robertson Ltd with their Silver Shred Marmalade. These were distributed sometime after the Great War.

Complete sets are hard to find and individual cards may cost you over 30 pounds sterling each.

The text on the rear reads:

The Military Medal instituted by King George in 1916 as a reward to non-commissioned officers and men in recognition of bravery in the field. It is worn immediately before all war medals.

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Shoeing Smiths of the Imperial Yeomanry in the South African War

From a set of 25 cigarette cards issued by W. & F. Faulkner in 1901 titled South African War Series.

There was no text on the back of the card.

It will cost around 450 pounds sterling to buy a set in VG condition.

This set is a good example of cigarette card pictures being used as newspaper images for the working class of the time which didn't often purchase newspapers.

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An 'anonymous' silk crest

When cigarette cards or silks are issued without the tobacco or trade company's name, they are referred to as 'anonymous'.

Sometimes these are difficult to locate in dealers' catalogues.

This beautiful silk is probably from a set of 120 medium sized Regimental Colours and Crests issued in 1915 by Godfey Phillips Ltd.

The catalogue price is only around two pounds sterling per silk, but finding the ones that you want can be time consuming.

Edited by Harry Fecitt

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Although this set of 54 cards issued in 1901 with Ogdens Ltd Tab cigarettes is titled Leading Generals at the War it includes this card of Bugler Dunne.

The text on the rear reads:

Bugler Dunne, the boy hero of Colenso. Shot three Boers, and continued on when wounded. Presented with silver bugle by H.M. the Queen to replace one lost.

Cards in this set should be available for around one pound sterling each.

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