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In a time before television and a very limited radio service many children got a large percentage of their education from the back of cigarette cards. You could almost collect an encyclopedia from off the street or out of the waste bins.
From the early 1900s through to the early 1960s collecting cigarette cards or Fag Cards as they were more commonly known, was a very popular hobby. with an almost endless selection of subjects represented, ranging from Girl Guide Emblems to sporting heroes, Derby winning race horses to breeds of domestic poultry, all of these subjects were covered at some time. Famous cricketers and footballers were also very popular.
Then with the increasing public pressure against tobacco advertisements and sales of cigarettes to children, the production of cigarette cards came to an end. Other products such as sweets and packets of tea, tried to take up the mantle, but it was never the same, the scavenging aspect was gone, and with it the sight of children pouncing on a loan discarded cigarette packet to see if that elusive card was still there, the hunt the sight was gone forever.
If you collected a full set of cards some makes of cigarette would exchange them for a silk flag, a real prize.
Although originally collecting cigarette cards was a free hobby of the young opportunist, for anyone lucky enough to still have sets of old cards is certainly in demand, as the cards now are very collectible and some sets quite valuable. Monetary value aside , cigarette cards provide a very interesting insight into early 20th century life. Sets now are often mounted in glass frames and hung on walls.
Level of Demand
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