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Earliest UK football & rugby trading cards
Some examples include, from 1922, cards printed and given away with 'The Champion' comic for boys ... Each card depicted club captains ... in the 'Famous Footballers' Green Back collection of 1925 from Gallaher.
Ogdens, a manufacturer of cigarettes, first began including cards in their packets as early as 1887. Another set of 50 appeared in 1914 and produced by WA and AC Churchman.
75 cards printed by Carreras in 1934 – again, beautifully drawn and lifelike etchings – included Home Park favourite Jimmy Cookson. In 1936, the Carreras collection of 48 cards under the title 'Popular Footballers'. On the reverse of each card was a description of each player and his club details. As for the album, that could be purchased from tobacconists for one penny.
Another very early set came out in 1907 when James Taddy & Company released 595 cards of 'Prominent Footballers'...
Cohen Weenen cards featured the captains of Division One, Division Two and Southern League teams.
Many of the cigarette companies just issued one set of cards associated with football. In other years they would vary their subjects in an attempt to appeal to a wider audience. Cricketers, nature (eg. birds of the world), transport (eg steamships) and history were other very popular subjects.
But why, you may wonder, did companies come up with the idea of all these delightful cards?Manufacturers used to wrap cigarettes in paper and place a protective piece of card inside. Those small pieces of cards became prime spaces on which to advertise, but more importantly to make the customer buy further packets because of their collectable appeal.
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