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Turf Cigarette cards
Cigarette card production effectively ceased after the Second World War but there was one firm that refused to let the idea die and they had a very novel way of solving the paper shortages.
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Turf, Famous Film Stars
Turf, Famous Film Stars
This can cause more than a few heartaches for modern collectors.

That card issuer was Carreras which issued cigarette cards under the Turf brand after the Second World War.

Carreras never seemed quite as interested in convention as other card producers.

This fact was born out in 1976-79 when they issued what is now known as the Black Cat 'Moderns' (8 sets of cigarette cards). This was a brave attempt to re-introduce cigarette cards to the British public but the idea did not catch on.

It is one of the 'if only' of cigarette cards.

If only they had choosen more interesting subject matters to relaunch is the biggest 'if only' of this effort to re-introduce collectable cigarette cards in the UK.

I am straying from the subject matter.

This was not the first time Carreras broke the convention. After WW2 finished none of the major manufacturers issued cigarette cards (they were printed but never issued, see unissued cards in the related pages section of this page.

Carton design

The cigarette carton had become far more robust from the original form.

Originally cigarette cards, which are still called stiffeners by the 'old guard' were designed to give rigidity to the flimsy packaging in which cigarettes were sold.

As the packaging become stronger the cigarette cards became thinner. The older cards are thicker because they are fulfilling a function, it is not just cost cutting which reduced the thickness of cards. It was simply they did not need to be made of such thick board.

Despite the shortages of raw materials the idea of selling cigarettes by weight was not really considered on. One person went on record to say he felt it was an unhygenic practice for a shop assistant to handle his cigarettes.

There is a logic to that but it always makes me smile when I remember the tone of the letter the first time I read it.

The hull and slide was the cigarette packet of the day (the flip top box was yet to appear).

The exterior of the hull and slide is the hull. This had advertising but the slide was essentially bare.

Some bright spark determined that 'cards' could be printed directly onto the slide. These cards soon became known as Turf slides. Packets of twenty had two cards printed and packets of ten just the one.

Sixteen sets were produced in this manner (1947-1956)

Although these were the only 'cigarette card' which was widely available at this period they were not as popular as perhaps could have been expected.

This was probably due to the fact that the cards had to be cut from the slide. It also might be the fact that there was no information on the reverse of the cards, which I believe is a fundamental part of the collecting experience.

The purist collector does not want a card that has been cut out but the whole internal slide. I can sympathise with the desire (in the same way I can understand why people wish to have push-out cards which have never been pushed out).

Churchmans, World Wonders Old & New
Turf, Famous
(the bottom of this card
has been badly cut.
Oh dear.

The fact cards have been cut out mean they are not ever going to be a uniform size, although there were guidelines for the process. It also means there is a tendency to 'tidy up' the corners by re-cutting.

Collecting the card still attached to the slide removes all these problems.

This was not the end of the ingenuity of Carreras. Actually perhaps the most interesting thing about these cards is yet to be revealed and it is something not a lot of people know.

Continued Overleaf : The secret ingredient

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Saturday, 5th July 2008