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In the words of the song, 'Isn't it ironic, when you're caught in traffic, when you're already late.' Or at least that is the sentiment of the line, if not the line itself.

I believe the artist who sung/wrote it was Canadian, presumably she was still taking those jagged little pill's. Annoying it might be, ironic it ain't. Unless she was travelling to a convention on traffic conjestion. Now, we are getting closer to irony.

Charles Dickens claimed the characters from his books spoke to him, guided the plot and generally existed. Who knows how jagged the pills were he was taking.

These little boys could not be demanding a packet of Benson and Hedges

When I started the trade card section I saw articles about jet engines, pop stars, computers, space age and any number of mankind's achievements since the Second World War. That is what the cards were telling me.

So what is one of the first articles in this section going to be? Prehistoric Animals, that's what.

Isn't it ironic?' or 'Is not it ironic?'

Cards were sales incentives and so had to be of interest to the people buying the product. Although there were some cigarette card sets which dealt with the terrible lizards most of the sets relating to these most ancient and successful of earths inhabitants come from the trade card section. As trade cards predate cigarette cards and survived them perhaps it is fitting.

It is just a fact that little boys are obsessed with these monsters, certainly this little boy was. These little boys could not be demanding a packet of Benson and Hedges from their Mother's but pester power was going to get them a packet of Tea. As you probably guessed Brooke Bond produced a set of these things, in fact they produced two, one for the British market and one for the Canadian market. The Canadian market is a better set (I expect you think that's ironic too <g>) I am leaping ahead of myself and will return to the Brooke Bond issues later.

Give or take
The Triassic period and the first dinosaurs ran from 250-205 million year
The Jurassic period ran from 205-135 million years ago
The Cretaceous period ran from 135-65 million years ago.
Generally it is thought a large meteorite wiped out the dinosaurs but a good number must have known it was coming and died of fright as dinosaurs were in decline from at 70 million years ago.
A long time ago...

Prehistoric Animals roamed the globe many years ago and the vast majority of them became extinct 65 million years ago, in between times they had been wondering about for 160 million years. This compares to the 2 million years mankind has been pottering about the place and the recent gene studies suggest modern man might not have got out of Africa until around 200,000 years ago, and maybe as late as 100,000. This much every school child knows. This was shocking news to the Victorian England, a mostly Christian culture which knew God made the Earth in six days and rested on the seventh, so the idea evolved that God popped the bones in the Earth for us to discover them on a wet Wednesday afternoon. Thus giving us something to do on a wet weekend wandering about museums looking at them. If this is the case The great man works in mysterious ways. Mind you both groups can agree the things were big and that is a great part of the appeal. Walls' Prehistoric Animals (magicards) [1971] a medium sized card of 6 recognised the fact size is everything. On the front of the cards, the dinosaur stands clear of a deliberately washed out scenery but the reverse of the card has an outlined drawing of the dinosaur stacked up against a scale drawing of a man.

Hollywood, has always been keen to tell the story rather than the truth, (Shergar was probably shot by the IRA within a few weeks of being kidnapped, knowing that will not ruin your enjoyment of the 'true story' as indeed the fact third class passengers were not locked below decks on the Titanic) were obsessed with prehistoric monster movies. Some of the very early films were of these monsters and there have been many since then.

Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, someone who really did enjoy a good hoax, created a very early dinosaur movie which fooled many a learned person. It is laughable to think we could be so foolish nowadays, but keep watching the skies, the chances of anything coming from Mars, is a million to one, but still they come.

Despite the gap of some 60 million years between the reign of the dinosaur and the emergence of man the two are always put together fighting and struggling for existence. My favourite is One Million Years BC, the only mistake they don't make is cavemen with wristwatches, great fun.

The Walls' set has some of that flavour about it because the animals are set against the same type of vegetation. The idea being that when you join the cards up, they make a larger scene. The dinosaurs species were seperated by a few million years of evolution and existed in very different climatic conditions, very Hollywood.

dinosaurs ruled

We all have our favourite monster, it is either T-Rex or Triceratops (my fav, which appears on one of the rare cigarette card monster sets, Cavanders, Peeps into Many Lands). The fact these two dinosaurs are probably the pop-stars of the age was not lost on Cadbury Bros Ltd which in 1975 issued a set of 8 large cards called Prehistoric Monsters. Issued with Curly Wurly one of the first chocolate bars which used the cunning technique of making a virtue of having more air in the packet than chocolate.

In this series models of seven different dinosaurs were placed in front of the same background and a picture taken of them. They made the set up to eight cards by photographing the two superstars together on one of the cards.

Cadbury had previously issued a set called Age of the Dinosaur [1971] which had 12 cards.

Like many a dinosaur set very few cards deal with marine invertebrates or botanical subjects. Well, what five year old wants to look at a fern when they can see T-Rex? The exception being the Trilobite, an early marine creature, which for some inexplicable reason is fascinating. This sea dweller appears on Milk Marketing Board, Prehistoric Animals [1963] set of 25. This outfit only produced two sets of cards, this being the first and the second came in 1979 a series of ten cards called, Milk Receipe Cards Given that sort of collapse in imagination I wonder what a third series would have been about.

Although invertebrates are a rare find they do get a mention in theLiebig 1929 set, I Tempi Geologici which I believe is the only time they are shown (I could be wrong though, it has happened before <g>). This set shows a collection of creatures on each card which makes the prehistoric world look a pretty busy place.

I learnt that the modern horse evolved from animals which had a seperate foot structure rather than the hoof they have today. The British museum had an exhibit which showed this very thing happening, four toes, turned to three, too two, and finally too one. Apparently a few years ago there were some red-faces when the original exhibition design was discovered. The horses were lined up according to size, not age, and bang went the theory.

Part of the problem with invertebrates is these spineless wonders were not very good at leaving behind fossil remains. Even when vertebrates leave fossil remains there are very few complete skeletons, which can lead to all sort so errors in identification. We are still finding different species and almost every time we drag more bones out of the ground some model has to be changed. In the Liebig set the Iguanadon's snout is drawn in error, based on a model which was something like 50 years out of date when the set was issued.

Whilst on the subject of things with little rigidity I just want to mention something in passing and hope it will be not taken as an opportunity to start an old, endless and fruitless arguement.

Collectors have long since argued about what constitutes a cigarette card. They have also argued about what constitutes a trade card. I tend to side-step all this stuff leaving definitional analysis to overpaid bureaucrats in Brussels. But I must make one observation, the word card seems pretty important too me.

It cannot be considered just an insert because of things like 'Turf' where the 'card' was integral to the packaging. It still remained card, however.

A good few years ago now Trebor introduced a series of pictures called 'Monsters' which were in fact printed on wrappers of 'Chewies'. Originally these were foil wrappers but then Trebor moved onto a wax paper wrapping making the series even less desirable from a quality point of view.

Over the years there have been a number of these 'sets' produced and I only include them now just to tell you I do not believe they have anything what-so-ever to do with the collecting of cigarette cards or trade cards. I am almost compelled to mention these things because almost every article written about dinosaur cards mentions this Trebor set with no real attempt to differentiate it from any other set.

Don't for one second think I am suggesting collecting sweet wrappers is not a worth while pastime (the early gum wrapper which advertised the fact Star Trek cards were contained within the packaging are now worth more money than the cards that were in them in the right circles), I must be the last person on earth qualified to cast a first stone but let me draw a line in cyberspace now, a card is a card, is only ever a card.

T-time
Details from Card
Diplocaulus
(Greek, 'double stalk')
Though an amphibian Diplocaulus was not a labyrinthodont; it belonged to a different group, the nectrideans. 2-3 feet long, it loved in Texas in Early Permian times (260 million years ago). The flattened head and body and the small, weak limbs suggest that it lived mostly on the bottom of lakes and streams and probably could not venture successfully on to dry land. Its most remarkable character was that, as it grew, it developed huge horn-like extensions of the skull roof on either side, so that the head of the adult animal was shaped like a broad arrow; the jaws however, remained small. The purpose of this feature is unknown.

Brooke Bond, Prehistoric Animal [1972] 50 cards is a strange sort of set. The illustrations are typical of the type, brightly coloured but lacking any really serious detail, they do the task proficiently. The reverse of the card attributes the illustrations to Maurice Wilson. This individual seemed to have a little bit of trouble with the creatures eyes. Some imparticular look quite drunk the way their eyes start from their heads. Anyway the fronts of the card are good fun. The reverse of the cards though are written by Dr Alan Charig and he obviously has a doctorate in big words as can be seen from the reverse of the card depicted in the box-out, the description is of a very drunk looking fellow with a grin on his face as he swims about.

All the descriptions are like that unless they are even trickier to read. It must have been murder for parents when little Tommy found one of these in a packet of tea and demanded it to be read out, certainly it is not the sort of thing I would want to be presented with before the first cuppa of the day.

final thought?

Perhaps it was not surprising the subject was dinosaurs, whilst we look for life out in space, there is more life in a handful of earth than there is on any planet we have yet to discover. It is also a fact there are more species on earth to be discovered, whilst we are searching space there are still vast areas of the globe we have yet to look at, there are still monsters here we cannot imagine. More animals become extinct every week than we have found in space, some species live and die without a single human being seeing them. Mankind definitely considered finding life on another planet will be the most incredible discovery ever but as we gaze at the stars out feet will be crushing the life out of yet another species without a second thought.

Isn't it ironic?