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Apri; 1925 : Sport Bridges and Motors

cigarette cards

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This might have been the month that was going to test it. Two sets of cards appeared which were related and had been issued previously by another company.

If society had evolved in a different manner this would be the sort of thing you would encounter in a quiz show rather than some equally arcane question about how many number ones did the Bee Gees achieve in Romania.Which only goes to prove nobody knows what the future will bring.

Still I fear there will always be more questions about people's whose teeth (and increasingly heads) might be capable of producing snow blindness than there will be about bits of card.

Another clue.

The majors

Players were the first major company to issue these cards after the First World War. So you can make a fair assumption these sets were issued by companies within the ITC group.

Charmingly, and this has to be the clincher, both sets have the word 'Celebrated' within the title, which in both cases is only two words long.

The two sets are: Churchmans, Celebrated Gateways [1925] and Faulkner, Celebrated Bridges [1925].

Originally Players issued the Celebrated Bridges series in 1903 and the Celebrated Gateways series in 1909.

This is by no means the only instance of cards being reissued by other companies within a group. It is considerably rarer but not unknown for a company to reissue its own sets, Players probably being the most notable example with the reissue of Characters from Dickens, which they put out in 1923 as a series of 50 cards, which were basically the two sets of 25 they had issued in 1912.

There are obvious advantages to putting out the same sets as it has to reduce costs. It is surprising that more cards were not reissued under different brand names or indeed put into packets some 20 years later when another generation of smokers were collecting.

Many would not have been suitable for this type of treatment but plenty would have been.

Well the cards are what you would expect and check out the page dedicated to Players Celebrated Gateways to get a very good idea what the Churchman set is all about.

The Celebrated Bridges set did not have a descriptive back but rather an ornate advertisement for the company issuing it. Players originally had the description, 'These interesting Pictures of Celebrated Bridges are issued solely by John Player & Sons Branch..

Either way, old rare and pretty expensive.The Minors

Which only goes to prove nobody knows what the future will bring as Edwards Ringer & Bigg also issued this set in 1924, only a year before the Faulkner set (jokes about waiting for buses seem appropriate)..

A look at this set will make you realize a lot of the Celebrated Bridges of the world were to be found in the United Kingdom, although by no means exclusively. Still it was a set for the UK market.

Those are the sets I can directly attribute to April 1925 and so onto the hypotheticals.

James Illingworth went wild and issued the third set of cards in their history.

Early adopters to the idea of cards they issued a set entitled, Views from the English Lakes [1894]. You get an idea of how rare this one is when I say it is thought there are some 22 cards in the series (Murrays says 22, London Cigarette Card Company say 12, which is a step up from 1956 when only 2 subjects were known). I am not sure how that date squares with the other bit of information I have which says the firm started producing cigarettes in 1895.

Either way, old rare and pretty expensive.

The second set appeared in 1924 and then this set in 1925, Motor Car Bonnets.

A sideways glance at a reasonably well supported theme of motoring. These of course were the days when cars had bonnets you could see when you drove them. I am a fan of such a view, it was rather disturbing the first time I got into a car in which you could not see the bonnet stretching out in front, made you feel a bit like you were driving along with your feet hanging out rather like an old fashioned fairground ride.The trouble starts when you try to collect them.

Anyway these were 25 cards on the subject in the days when you could tell the difference between cars without huge advertising campaigns and a quick look at the badge on the bonnet, or increasingly the grille because of safety.

Illingworth were not prolific card producers and managed two more issues before becoming a branch of Gallaher.

Gallaher had also bought Pattreioux in 1937 and both Pattreioux and Illingworth shared a number of issues.

Unfortunately for me Cope Bros also took it upon themselves to issue Lawn Tennis Strokes in 1925.

I do not mention Cope issues very frequently on this website and you can usually guess there is a fair reason for this. It is not because they were a small producer of cards. Far from it they were pretty determined to issue cards.

The trouble starts when you try to collect them. Of the roughly 90 sets which can be attributed to them only 7 cost less than a 100 dollars. And around 40 sets take the sort of dedication to collecting which make a monastic lifestyle seem positively flippant.Any series of cards on the subject of Tennis is welcome

You will notice I say 90 odd sets which can be attributed to them as they also had a happy habit of issuing sets anonymously. Combine this with the fact set were produced for both home and overseas markets, others just for the Indian market as well as a number of sets for the Danish market (the 'Contrabando' issues) it all becomes a bit mind-boggling.

Maybe my mind has a low boggle threshold, I can accept that but you have not heard how you can collect the 1903 Chinese Series with 5 different brand names on the last 20 cards of a series of 40.

It gets more complicated than that when you start to discover a good many of the cards were cut down to a special 30mm wide size and others were not. Surely enough to boggle stronger minds than mine.

Anyway back to the set I am talking about. Lawn Tennis Strokes.

This was actually only a series of 5 cards which would seem a bit measly for a set claiming to be about tennis strokes but is in fact an additional series of cards to the 25 they issued the previous year (the scan is actually of number 6 of the 1924 series for all those with a determination for detail).

Any series of cards on the subject of Tennis is welcome but quite why they could not have issued it as a series of 30 cards in the first place is part of the wonder that is Copes.

So a month of rather strange card issues, two re-branded sets and series from a small distributor and one from a large distributor whose cards are seldom seen.

Having said that I must point out that some Cope sets are often seen, Castles and Poker being the obvious examples so if you do have them do not plan an early retirement just yet.