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Those Withheld Cards….It’s Nothing New – John Walton

Those Withheld Cards….It’s Nothing New – John Walton

As I drove to work one morning recently I tuned into a conversation about trading cards on the Radio 4 Today programme. The reporter was bemoaning the fact that in the recent World Cup footballers series some cards were hard to get. He said that Panini, who produced them, had denied keeping some cards short in order to keep people collecting. He also said that he had gathered six Thierry Henri cards – and that when he had mentioned this on the Internet people in Manchester said they had never seen one of that player! This had led to some useful swapping.
Wkiddy1hen I was a small boy I used to help deliver newspapers. I would also spend lots of money buying threepenny packets of Kiddy’s Favourites cards. One day I told the newsagent that I had been unable to complete any of the sets I needed. He took me to his store room where there were scores of boxes of the cards – he allowed me to go through all of the packets, take those I needed and replace them with my spares. So I had full sets of Footballers, Cricketers, Boxers and Speedway Riders. Eventually I grew older and forgot all about them. Soon after I started collecting as an adult my father produced a box from the attic with what was left of my boyhood treasures – mostly in dreadful condition. At the time I was only collecting pre-war cards so any that were any good went back into the hobby. Years later I decided to collect the sets again – I had to pay premium prices for the last Cricketer and the last Footballer!
In the mid Sixties I was living in Aldershot and tried to collect a set of Lipton’s Flags of the World. I still needed four cards when the town’s Lipton store closed down. There had been a competition to win a bicycle for a complete set. I wrote to Lipton’s and (the competition being over) I was sent the four missing cards. Some time later Dorothy Bagnall told me that when they bought the Lipton remainders they received many thousands of the four missing numbers.
3-celticCompetitions make finding complete sets very hard indeed. Many of Lipton’s Flags the Thomson pre-war miniature sets have missing numbers – this is usually because of the offer of a prize for a full set. I am sure the tobacco firms also targeted certain numbers to certain areas. Many old time collectors have told of having relatives in other parts of the country who had lots of spares of cards that they couldn’t find (and Vice Versa). At one time I was looking for a Phillips XL Cricketer.After nearly two years I had not been able to find one.Then I received a box of cards from a man who had gathered them for me in East Sussex – inside were six of the Cricketers – all of them being the one I had not been able to get!

It’s still fun when you do find them – so keep trying!

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