What is “Card World”?
And who are The Cartophilic Society of Great Britain?
Put simply, ‘Card World‘ is the title of both the official website and the bi-monthly magazine produced by a research group called The Cartophilic Society of Great Britain.
Cartophily is a 20th Century word, made by combining the French word “Carte” (which means cards) and the Greek word “Philos” (which means love, enjoyment or appreciation). Therefore people who enjoy collecting cards are Cartophilists. These are words which now seem to have fallen out of popular use, but for many years the Society magazine was called “Cartophilic Notes and News”. There is an amusing variant though, as in a Pathe News Documentary filmed in 1937, reference is made to ‘Cartophilistines’. We have never heard this anywhere else!
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 D.S.O. M.C. T.D. F.P.R.S.I. 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 any subsequent cards, had been ever laid down in a form to help collectors. Indeed, even requests for information asked to the cigarette issuers was met with surprise; 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 to 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 might be useful as extra 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. A forgemaster and engineer by trade, but also a Philatelist, heavily involved with organising large stamp exhibitions and events. His personal collections specialised in stamps of The Ukraine and of Papua, for which he received many international Philatelic awards. In 1927 he leapt into the dark and founded the London Cigarette Card Company, in a house in Wellesley Road, Chiswick, which was 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 magazine is still issued today, though the LCCC themselves are now based in rural Somerset.
In 1937 Colonel Bagnall featured in a Pathe News documentary, a super film, starting with cards being tipped from a box onto a table: it is now online, and you can see it for yourself by clicking this blue link:
Sadly, he passed away in 1974, but his legacy still lives on with all the collectors who are still benefitting from his research today. 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. And we hope you will.
In 1935, the first ever proper “card club”, called The Cameric Cigarette Card Club, was started in London by Arthur Eric Cherry (shown left). This club successfully attracted many isolated collectors who had been scattered across the country and turned them into a unique fellowship. From November 1940, it even produced and circulated a regular printed magazine called “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 Cameric Club lasted right through to the early 1950s, with regular meetings at London’s Bonnington Hotel, a most attractive building within easy reach of the British museum and Bloomsbury. The Society’s main officials were Franz Blows, Fred Piper and W.W. Wright.
The inaugural meeting of the Cartophilic Society of Great Britain was held on the 15th of December 1938 at Anderton’s Hotel, 102-105 Fleet Street in London. The building has since been demolished, but this illustration appeared on our 1988 Jubilee commemorative card, the reverse of which which says “…. The pioneers who attended the meeting laid firm foundations which war and the discontinuance of cigarette cards could not displace. Today through its extensive publications and many branches the original objectives to “propagate, preserve, and enhance the hobby of cartophily” are still being followed successfully.”
One of the pioneers at this meeting was Edward Wharton-Tigar M.B.E. F.C.I.S. Born in 1912, he had started collecting cigarette cards before he was ten years old. He was our second research editor, and worked not only on the Society magazine “The Cartophilic World”, but also on all of the early Society green covered reference books, starting with “Un-numbered Series : Cartophilic Handbook Number 1”, so named because it was the first of many books taken from his extensive collection of cards and his quite amazing information index system, the combination of which would eventually lead to the production of our 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 in The Independent reminds me most of him. However probably the best obituary is the one in the NY Times
Mr. Edward “Ted” Knight succeeded Mr. Wharton-Tigar as the Cartophilic Society President. For some time he had been our New Issues Research Editor. The picture is our Year 2000 Watford Convention Commemorative Card. Mr Knight died in 2005.
Here are a few more notable names you ought to know:
Eric Gurd : collector, historian, researcher, author, editor of “Cartophilic World” magazine, in fact our first research editor. He wrote several volumes in the early 1940s, the first two being published in 1942, both being based on his long term interest in and research into the beginnings of cigarette makers and cards. The first was “Prologue to Cigarettes – The Story of Robert Peacock Gloag, England’s first Cigarette Maker”. Mr. Gurd was especially taken with Mr. Gloag, a character probably unknown to most of our readers today, but vitally important in the story of smokiana. It was whilst Scotsman Robert Peacock Gloag was serving as paymaster to the Turkish forces in Russia during the Crimean War that he noticed local soldiers were fond of rolling up paper and filling the tube with ground up tobacco, which they then put to their mouths and produced a yellowish smoke. When Gloag returned to this country, he brought the idea of these “roll up” cigarettes back as well, and from a factory in Walworth, London, he started to produce “Sweet Threes” cigarettes, becoming the maker of the first branded cigarettes to be produced in Britain.
Mr. Gurd’s second book, “Cigarette Cards – An Outline”. was one of the first real histories of cards and how to collect them. A copy of this volume is available for society members to borrow through our library. The reference number is C430. After the publication of this booklet, updates and expansions to it were published for several years as articles within the “Cartophilic World” magazine, which he so ably edited.
A large proportion of this work was also used to produce the first Cartophilic Society Monographs, starting with number one, the issues of Faulkner (library ref.no.F08), and moving on through R & J Hill (H28), the original W.D. & H.O. Wills booklet (W30), Gallaher (G06), Abdulla,Adkin&Anstie (A05), Ardath (A52), and the Directory of British Issuers (D15). By this time the need was felt for a volume explaining the language of cards, which led to his involvement with “Glossary of Cartophilic Terms”, first issued in 1948. This is still an excellent volume to read as you start to collect cards, and it explains so many of the unusual words you will come across in card auction catalogues. It too is available in our library, reference number C198.
Alfred James Cruse : was the author of several books. His first was the full colour, 22 page, “All about Cigarette Cards”, shown here, published by Perry Colour Books” in 1945. That was followed by “Cigarette Card Cavalcade – including a Short History of Tobacco” a hardcover volume of 173 pages, usually found with a striking pictorial dust jacket, published by Vawser & Wiles Limited in 1948, who also published his 1951 paperback “Cigarette Card Collecting” in uniform style.
This section is under construction and we welcome your memories of cigarette and trade card collecting in earlier days. Though several websites detail the history of card issuers, the stories of the vitally important researchers, collectors, and dealers are slowly disappearing. Here are some notable absences we welcome your thoughts on:
MR BURDICK and his American catalog
MR C H MATTHEWS and the Monograph
TED PRIOR of the Universal Cigarette Card Co.
E.V. POTTER whose lovely illustrated albums formed a great introduction to the world of card collecting for so many of us.
Early magazines like CIGARETTE CARD REVIEW
A dilemma. Imagine you are, or know a card collector who lives outside the UK, who would be really interested to join us, were it not for the high cost of the overseas subscription? If only there was a way to reduce this cost. And now there is!
have uploaded their next "Type List" at https://www.the-saleroom.com/en-gb/auction-catalogues/tim-davidson/catalogue-id-srti10122 Please do take a look and bid sportingly. Few auctions are running, so we must reward those who are.
Although the Convention has been postponed, the auction will still go ahead with the same finish date of 1st May. Unless there are more lockdown restrictions imposed I am aiming to send lots out to winning bidders on or about 6th May. Of course the
This early American pasteboard representation, part of a set of "Holidays", is a charming way to pass on our St Patrick's Day greetings to collectors worldwide. It has endured two World Wars, and many other historical events of a worrisome nature,