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Gentleman's Military Interest Club
Harry Fecitt

Military & Empire Cigarette & Trade Cards

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From Wills' Scissors set of 30 cards titled Heroic Deeds issued in 1913.

Expect to pay four pounds or more in sterling for a VG card.

The text on the rear reads:

Lieutenant Parsons RA and men of the 60th Rifles manning a field gun at the Ingogo River after all the gunners had been shot down (Boer War 1881).

At the Ingogo River, February 8th 1881, every officer, gunner and horse of the RA, with the exception of Lieut. Parsons, who was wounded later, was shot down. For an hour the gun was silenced, then a party of the 60th Rifles began to work it, and kept it in action throughout the day, but with heavy loss.

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Some popular sets of cigarette cards have been reproduced for the collectors' market.

W.D. & H.O. Wills Ltd issued the original set of 50 cards titled Military Motors in 1916.

An original set is likely to cost you over 80 pounds sterling, but a reproduction set sells for six or seven pounds.

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A card from a large set

This is one of 111 cards issued by Gallaher Ltd in 1901 titled The South African Series

Expect to pay five to six pounds sterling for a good card.

Colonel Kekewich, CO of the 1st Bn The Loyal North Lancashire Regiment, successfully commanded the garrison at Kimberley in a 126-day siege during the South African War.

He became a Major General commanding the 13th (Western Division) but on 5th November 1914, due apparently to a nervous breakdown, he tragically took his own life.

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Attack on a laager

United Tobacco Companies (South) Ltd (S. Africa) issued many interesting large or medium sized cards.

This set of 200 large cards is titled Our South Africa Past and Present and was distributed in 1938.

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United Tobacco Companies (South) Ltd (S. Africa) also distributed sets of more artistically designed cards.

The prices remain very affordable at around the same cost as the previous set.

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An album page showing part of a set of 50 medium-sized silks issued by Godfrey Phillips Ltd in 1920 and titled Orders of Chivalry.

Expect to pay over 100 pounds sterling for the full set, but dealers often sell silks cheaply because the collecting public prefers cards.

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A set for the ex-gunners amongst us.

From an extra-large set of 12 cards issued by John Player & Sons in 1917 titled Artillery in Action.

Expect to pay around 60 pounds sterling for the set.

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A trade card from Typhoo Tea Ltd issued in 1939 and titled Important Industries of the British Empire.

There are 25 cards in the set which can be bought for 10 to 15 pounds sterling.

In this series from Typhoo the descriptive text is on the front of the card.

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These are 'Scissors' cards aimed at the British troops in India.

A set in VG condition costs around 75 pounds sterling, but an identical Wills set issued under the United Service Cigarettes brand has blue backs and is catalogued at a few pounds less.

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A couple of dashing Diggers and a relaxed gunner.

From Gallaher's Types of the British Army issued in two different sets of 50 cards each between 1897 and 1898.

No descriptive text on the back, only cigarette brand adverts, Depending on the brand printed on the back, expect to pay up to 10 pounds sterling per card.

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Silks with card backings.

From Soldiers of The King, a set of 14 medium sized inserts issued with copies of My Weekly and The Happy Home magazines during the Great War.

Edited by Harry Fecitt

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Harry - I must tell you that I am enjoying your various threads - so many different subjects. Post 32 - attack on a Laager - this was the Zulu attack on the Boer Column at Blood River in Zululand. The Boers were able to defend themselves and killed so many - approx.4000 - that the river turned red. I think they lost two men. This lead to the first Boer settlement in Natal in 1838 - Pietermaritzburg.

Have you had any of the South African cards - they were always with an album and fitted into spaces with descriptions. They are not very collectible in S.A.

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An album page from a set of 25 Medals issued by Stephen Mitchell & Son in 1916.

Expect to pay up to six pounds sterling per card in VG condition.

Two of the backs are shown in the current Rhodesian thread.

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Here's part of an album page from Belgium, with the text in French & Flemish. The set of 225 cards is titled Our Congo and was issued in 1948.

I was lucky to find the album in a shop in Antwerp a few years ago. The cards depict tribal characteristics, flora & fauna, economic development and traditional rural crafts and occupations.

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