N.M.P.L. | AUSTIN
SETS FOR SALE
ABDULLA / ARDATH
LAMBERT & BUTLER
You might as well start reading now whilst the images load on this page. There are a number and they will take a moment or two longer than the average page on this site but it would hardly be fair to tell you all about some of the best cards there are and not include images of the things, bit like listening to football on the radio. Next to each set is a check box, click on the box if you want to know how you can acquire the set of cards and at what price.
It is human nature to compare/contrast and otherwise examine. Cigarette cards are no different. Thousands of sets were produced but still there are always the 'classic' sets which almost everyone agrees are a cut above the rest.
This is an area fraught with all the difficulties of taste and belief. In the car world a 'classic' is pretty well defined, or at least the core-element of the classic car is. These are the E-type Jaguars, The Mustang and their ilk. Then there are the subset of 'classics', the Z-80, the Capri, the Mini.
An examination of what makes a classic car can help us in determining a classic set.
Note the fact that Rolls Royce do not really produce a 'classic' in the populist sense of the word. They just are not within the aspirations of the masses. So for this reason you will not be calling, Taddys Clowns and Circus Artistes a classic in the populist sense and you will not be finding it on the list below.
This is not to say quality, or at least perceived quality is not an important element in defining a classic. Keeping an E-Type on the road was an art in itself when they were new let alone now. However they have a certain rareity and excitement about them.
In the mid-70's you could hardly give the things away, they were not a popular car. So to be a classic there is no real need to have been appreciated at the time of going to press. In the case of cigarette cards this is difficult to determine although as tastes change sets do move in and out of fashion. For example I thought long and hard about including Players, Cats on this list. Cat ownership was not half as popular as dog ownership during the cigarette card period. As a result very few cat sets emerged. The one that did was an absolute beauty and I suspect when this list is updated Players, Cats will be on it.
Of interest here is also the fact a classic is not made, it is created. The early versions of the Mustang, the early version of the E-type, the early Z-80's these are classics. By the time US safety laws became important and ugly plastic bumpers were strapped onto beautiful lines or petrol prices rose things were beginning to look ugly. So often the sharp lines of the original become dulled by the desire of the manufacture to squeeze more sales out of it. How often has a film sequel been better than the original.
You will not be finding any second series listed in this set of cards. There are some series cards such as Players, Country Seats & Arms which would be foolish to split as they are intended to be a complete run of 150 cards. No, being first is important if you want to reach classic status. Please do not write in to tell me about the deliberate error in the list of cards, the more rules I make up the more likely they are to be broken.
Dare to be different. I suppose this goes hand in hand with the idea of daring to fail. The Mini is an example of this. It created a whole new concept, the small car. Instant classic.
Of the hundreds of sets which were produced on a sport theme or film themes not one has got into this list. Wills, Cricketers came very close to getting into the list and I must admit, if I had been compiling the list out of personal favourites (which is a different subject) then this set would have got in. Even if it had, as one of the first sets on a sporting theme it hardly destroys this definition of 'classic.'
Instead if you go down the list you find a pretty varied subject matter, The Story of Sand, now that is a set which dares to be different.
Price is obviously a function of demand and supply in a free market economy. If anyone knows of such a market then please drop me a line (I know the stock-market is often cited but it does not have perfect information and so rumour and panic seem to drive the price in that situation). The Model T Ford can be considered a classic as it brought car ownership to the masses. Classic does not have to mean exclusive. This is rather the reverse arguement of why the Rolls-Royce is not a populist classic. Looking down the list of classic cards you are going to find it would not need a second mortgage to complete the whole list. The most expensive being the Wills, Coronation Series. Indeed a few of them are in the budget range, under £15/$30
Did I compile the list with these basic rules in mind?
No, this list has been compiled from various other lists which have attempted to compile a list of classic cards and it is also a list of cards which crop up time and again in people's lists of must-have cards.
Afterall everyone knows what happens to things which have been created to be a classic by following a formula. The pop world is full of such examples 'made for success' groups floating about in the 'where are they now?' files and many more in the 'who cares' files.
You may notice some of the descriptions are perhaps less informative about the set than you would like. Fear not, a lot of the sets have hyperlinks after them, one click and you get to a page devoted to the whole set.
If you have an interest in any of the sets on this page just tick the associated box and I will send you discount price and availability information.
I am not saying this list is in anyway definitive but I am prepared to argue the merits of each of these sets. It is surprising just how often these sets come up in all the e-mails I receive. In fact I would go so far as to say one of the above sets is mentioned at least once a day. The list is there to be challenged, if you have any firm opinions or think there is a set I have not included which should be (almost certainly there is) I am always willing to listen to collectors old and new stating an opinion.