Cigarette Cards and other ephemera

Cigarette Cards, Trade Cards,

Miniature Playing Cards and other ephemera.

Playing Cards often feature in the design of items such as cigarette cards, trade cards, score cards, telephone cards, matchbox labels and lottery tickets, as well as in advertisements, calendars, cigarette packets, chinaware, brochures, beer mats, key rings, cigar bands, sweet wrappers, post cards, book illustrations, music manuscripts, inside Christmas crackers and so on…. more

Bucktrout & Co Ltd (Guernsey) 1930 Carreras Ltd Thomas De la Rue & Co security stamp, 1950s
Miniature playing cards Mardon Son & Hall, 1933

Peruvian Cigarette Cards

Roldan y Cia, Lima (Peru) c.1890Roldan y Cia, Lima (Peru) c.1890

Above: two cards from 40-card lithographed pack, probably manufactured in Spain for the Peruvian tobacco market, c.1890.

two early 20th century cigarette cards with miniature inset playing cards

Above: miniature Disney Mickey Mouse cards.

Spanish trade cards from razor blade boxes, c.1938

Above: Spanish trade cards from razor blade boxes, c.1938.

Above: Cigarette packet. See more

Cromwell Series miniature playing cards published by D. Harper & Co. Ltd, c.1920s

Above: D Harper & Co Ltd was a British manufacturer of fancy goods in the early 20th century, exhibiting at the British Industries Fairs of 1922, 1929, 1937 and 1947. The cards, which appear to be a copy of Goodall's Tom Thumb patience cards, are in a faux leather folder, with a press stud enclosure (marked "English Maker") in apparent cheeky parody of a Victorian family bible. The spine has the text "Let Us Play", quite radical for the period!  (Click image to zoom). Images courtesy Matt Probert.

Wix Miniature Playing Cards for Kensitas c.1935
Wix Miniature Playing Cards for Kensitas c.1935
Wix Miniature Playing Cards for Kensitas c.1935

Above: in around 1935, Wix gave away free miniature playing cards in packets of Kensitas cigarettes. Smokers could also save coupons (known as certificates) from packets of Kensitas cigarettes and then exchange these for a full-size pack of cards. It would appear that two cards were issued in a packet of 10 cigarettes, and in packets of 20 five miniature cards with instructions for a magic trick. The miniature cards were produced with ornamental back designs in either red or blue. Image courtesy Matt Probert.

Roldan y Cia, Lima (Peru) c.1920

Above: miniature playing cards inset into collectable cigarette cards manufactured in Peru, c.1920  more

Wills Flag Cigarettes c.1930

Above: miniature playing cards for W.D. & H.O. Wills' Flag Cigarettes c.1930. Image courtesy Matt Probert.

Above: miniature playing cards inserted into consumer products as a sales incentive and for children to collect  more

Above: Waddingtons playing cards on Bermuda postage stamps commemorating the World Bridge Championship, 1975.

Children’s Card Games with Advertising

Sales incentives - from the collection of Rex Pitts

Whist Score cards

from the collection of Tony Hall

Cigarette Paper Packets

from the Biblioteca Nacional de España online collection

cigarette paper packet from the Biblioteca Nacional de España

Above: cigarette paper packets from the Biblioteca Nacional de España online collection

1917 Wills's Cigarette Arms of Companies series

Above: the 1917 original Wills's Cigarette "Arms of Companies" series cigarette card depicting the "Playing Card Makers". Courtesy Matt Probert.

1917 Wills's Cigarette Arms of Companies series

Playing card design coasters by Present Solutions, after 1974

Above: from a set of four cork-backed coasters made in England by Present Solutions. The playing card designs are post-1974. Courtesy Matt Probert.

Miniature playing card typeface, 1855
Las Vegas “Poker” Watch

Above: Las Vegas “Poker” Watch. Image courtesy Matt Probert.

Extract of Common Sense
Last Updated April 11, 2021 at 02:35pm


Join the Newsletter

Editor’s Picks

Playing cards have enormous educational value, with a long history and many diverse types and graphical styles from around the world... View More →

back to top