N.M.P.L. | AUSTIN
SETS FOR SALE
ABDULLA / ARDATH
LAMBERT & BUTLER
|Friday, 16th May 2008|
Since I have written this title I have changed the thrust of this piece three times (and I had not finished the first sentence.) Some of you might be in for a bit of a disappointment as it is not about the women who appeared on the cards.
I sell a lot of cards, I buy a lot of cards. I talk a lot about cards...to men. Women just don't seem to collect them with the same sort of desire. Countless times I have seen the resigned look on a wife's face as her husband delves into the cigarette card folders. Now this is not too say women do not collect cards. Cigarette card collecting would be a lot poorer if it were not for the efforts of Dorothy Bagnall who just about wrote the book on the subject, literally.
Mind you what are the men looking at?
Well the early cards, Ogdens Guinea Golds ect. all seem to be on the subject of women, with as much flesh exposed as allowed in as many instances as possible. Drapkin & Milloff are prime examples of 'blokish' cards including the amazingly named, Pick-Me-Up Paper Inserts (1900) £85 per card. Move on a few years and we get endless sets of Motor Cars, Cricket, Aircraft, Warships. and football is probably the most popular of all sets ever produced, certainly in the last few years.
Going back to the original adverts for tobacco products they were directed towards the male part of the population. Indeed Wills saw their product going primarily to sailors. Cigarette cards, a history. I cannot see it as mere coincidence that Players Navy Cut was such a successful brand. During this period women just tended not to smoke, it was essentially a male dominated pastime and as such the cigarette cards reflected this.
Looking through my file of old cigarette adverts it took a considerable time before Will's were prepared to announce they had a 'man's cigarette that women like.' Other adverts suggested that their brand of cigarette was not so strong as to rip your throat out, probably considered something of an advantage to the female smoker.
Although there is no text on the poster shown it gives you an idea of the advertising. The young woman looks the picture of health. No doubt a flower seller enjoying a peaceful moment the gentle fragrance of the cigarette mingling with the sweet scent of woman and flowers, not.
The cigarette card world caught up later with Wills producing almost endless variations on the Flowers theme which I can only assume were considered vote winners for women at the time. Maybe, maybe not, but at least it kept the presses busy whilst they were waiting for the next football season to come around.
I am going to end this short piece by asking to hear from any of those women card collectors out there. Looking at the demographics of the net women card collectors represent a subset of a subset.
Copes in 1898 issued an untitled set of cards which since has had the adopted title of Occupations for Women thrust opon it. This is due to the fact the card depicts a woman conducting some form of occupation. A rather peculiar bunch of occupations the are too:
Mind you these suggestions are tame in comparison to some of the thoughts of our American cousins. These first 24 cards were issued as above by Goodwin who then extended the set to 50.
Some of the efforts included:
|King of the Amazons|
|Before calming down and considering:|
|I wonder what was the more likely in 1898.|
Well finally someone has told me what an Ulan is. So commendable thanks to Roger Deal, who supplied the answer: an ulan was a type of light calvery/lancer most often in Germanic armies of the 1800's thru world war I . For example, the german lancers of about 1914 with helments like little anvels were ulans.