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World War One was behind us and the Allies had won, Britain had an Empire about as big as it was ever going to be and although the clever money was on the fact it was not going to be lasting much longer the fact is, clever money is often hard to find.

what were those cigarette cards littering the streets in such numbers, unloved and uncared for.

The First World War was still The Great War, and many were happy in the knowledge it had been the war to end all wars, at least on the global scale. So for England times were good, big Empire, security and an economic prosperity which seemed almost endless.

A friend of mine used to have a theory about, of all things the content of Coke cans (it is not libellous). It ran something like this. Sometimes you are drinking from a can and you suddenly think, 'Crickey, there is an endless supply of Coke in this can.' Once that thought occurs the very next swig will be the last.

It is a great theory because it can be attached to absolutely anything. It is the sort of thought which can change your life.

Lets leave all that behind us because all the above pales to nought when you realize cigarette card production is in full swing. Cards are popping out of cigarette packets left right and centre.

So you ask me, what were those cigarette cards littering the streets in such numbers, unloved and uncared for.

Well the actual month of issue is often quite difficult to track down so I have had to fudge things a bit, but I will tell you where you can smell the fudge and where I am on slightly firmer ground.

Most cards can only be given a year of issue and even in these cases there can be room for negotiation.

However with the larger issuers such as Players and Wills, there are enough records in existence to be able to be pretty certain of issue months.

As the known issues of Jan 1925 are limited it seems a good time to put in an overview.

We all know the feeling of what it is like when trying to get to the check out counter. It is a known fact the queue you join will be the slowest moving of the lot. It has also been researched and it is not the case at all.

The coke can rule could be adapted for this. When I looked down the list of cards issued hundreds were issued in 1924, hundreds were issued in 1926 and relatively few were issued in 1925. I suspect this would not bear up to close examination and if you think I am going to do a study of cards issued in particular years, you are probably right, but not right now.

In 1924 the sports card issues had not reached anything like the peak they are going to in the 1930's and nor had the film star cards. Cinema in the 1920's was pretty basic so the great deluge of these cards is yet to happen.

Rather like the great question of today, 'What on earth did the Grandparents do without television?' it leaves you wondering what on earth the card producers did, given there was not even a major war to get patriotic about.

Well over the next year we are going to be seeing pretty much exactly what was coming out of the packets during the year of 1925.

The only set of cards I know of coming out of packets in Jan 1925 is the set Carreras, A Kodak at the Zoo.

London Zoo facts:

first opened 1828 for science (the first) .

opened to the public in 1847

First zoo to open:

Reptile house (1849)

Public aquarium (1853)

Insect house (1881)

Childrens Zoo (1938)

This was the second issue of this series, the first having come out the previous year. If you have a look down the Carreras issue list you will find they have a fondness for second series, or if not issuing cards in different sizes. Navigating through their Film Star output is an exercise in patience and understanding.

75 years later it is difficult to determine quite why they issued two sets of these, apart from what else did you do in 1925. You just have to accept they were more popular then they are now.

From my sales figures it would be the perfect set to issue during the month when the entire smoking world says, 'My New Years resolution is to stop smoking this year.'

At this point start smelling the fudge as I cannot locate another set attributed to the merry month of January. Godfrey Phillips issued the set Kings and Queens of England in 1925.

Another set in the royalty theme, although different for a number of reasons. Different first because the company did not wait for a Coronation to issue the set.

Godfrey Phillips were mortified to discover an error in a set of Royalty cards of all things and immediately withdrew the affected cards.

Shows a certain amount of determination as the rest of the card world accepted the public were only really interested in Royalty when being crowned. Royalty dropping dead, often catching them on the hop when it came to card issues.

What is interesting is the fact they only managed to squeeze 37 cards out of the theme. Twenty odd years earlier Wills managed to produce 100 cards on the theme of European Royalty for example.

The fact there are only 37 cards is even more odd when you consider it was a set which charted royalty through the ages and there is always fifty cards on that theme whatever happens.


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