So, what is Card World ?
And who are the Cartophilic Society of Great Britain ?
Put simply, ‘Card World’ is the official website and journal of the Cartophilic Society of Great Britain. Cartophily is a 20th Century word derived from the French “Carte” (meaning cards) and the Greek “Philos” (meaning love). So those who love cards are called Cartophilists (though, amusingly, the term ‘Cartophilistines’ appears in a Pathe News Documentary filmed in 1937)
It is impossible here to pay tribute to all of those who have devoted their minds and their time to researching and to archiving cards, and have advanced the hobby to its current stage. And remember for most of that time there were no computers or internet to aid in this process!
When Colonel Charles Lane Bagnall laid the foundation stone of Cartophily in the 1920’s, he did so on unturned soil. Though the earliest cigarette card ever recorded had been issued in the 1870s, no records or information about that or subsequent cards had been ever laid down in a form to help collectors. Indeed, even requests to the issuers was met with surprise, for cards were ephemeral, purely intended to sell more product by encouraging the basic human instinct to form collections, and then once that set had paled, to be discarded, destroyed, and replaced with something new. They were not things to remember, or record for posterity. Yet cards had been issued freely across the globe, with tobacco products, foodstuffs, and as advertising for all manner of shops and suppliers. As for their origins, nothing could be less glamorous. When you sold a commodity in a paper packet, it ran the risk of getting damaged. But not if you added a piece of cardboard between the product and the paper. Then someone had an idea – if they printed a picture on one side of the cardboard and their trademark on the other, it would be advertising. This developed into producing different picture cards every so often, then to numbering each card, and finally to adding the words “A SERIES OF…” plus a number, so you knew there were other cards, still out there, yet to find.
Colonel Bagnall (shown left) had been born in 1884. He was a forgemaster and engineer by trade, he was also a Philatelist, involved with organising large stamp exhibitions and events, and for his personal collections specialising in stamps of The Ukraine and of Papua, for which he received international Philatelic awards.
In 1927 he leapt into the dark and founded the London Cigarette Card Company, in a house in Wellesley Road, Chiswick, a company purely for dealing in cigarette cards. Their first “catalogue of prices” was issued in 1929 and, in 1933, they started a regular card collecting magazine called ‘Card Collectors News’. This is still issued today, though the Company is now based in rural Somerset.
Colonel Bagnall died in 1937, the same year he had been involved in a Pathe News documentary. This fascinating film, beginning with cards being tipped from a box onto a table, can still be viewed at:
His daughter Dorothy Bagnall, (shown above with her father) shared his love of cards, and followed her father into the Company. Her excellent book on “Collecting Cigarette Cards” is also her joyful auto-biography; published in 1965 by Arco Publications, this is, we are glad to say, widely available at many libraries (including our Society one, where its reference number is C460). Every collector ought to read it.
In 1935, the first “card club”, The Cameric Cigarette Card Club, was conceived in London by Arthur Eric Cherry (shown left).
This club successfully attracted the many formerly isolated collectors scattered across the country and turned them into a unique fellowship. From November 1940, it even produced and circulated a regular printed magazine called “Cameric Notes & News”, a whole run of which are available in our library, They prophesy of how the hobby would develop once the war was over, but sadly Mr. Cherry was not to see this. He died young, as a Prisoner of War in Singapore.
Three years later, Franz Vernon Blows would become the President of the Cameric Club and write this splendid article:
The Cartophilic Society of Great Britain had been founded in 1938 by Edward Wharton-Tigar, who had been born in 1912, and had started collecting cigarette cards before he was ten years old. By 1940 The Society was already producing printed reference books on cards, starting with “Un-numbered Series : Cartophilic Handbook Number 1”. This was the first of many books taken from his collection of cards, and his quite amazing information index system, which would eventually lead to the production of the World Tobacco Issues Index in 1956. By his death he had the largest cigarette card collection on record, and was recorded as so in The Guinness Book of Records. This was bequeathed to the British Museum after his death in 1995. It is registered as a group under 2006,0201.1. Several biographies of Edward Wharton-Tigar exist online but this one reminds me most of him: The Independent – whilst this is probably the best obituary: NY Times
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