The home of the Cartophilic Society of Great Britain

Candles for Advent

Candles for Advent

PRI-080 [trade : UK] Price’s Patent Candle Co Ltd. of London ‘Famous Battles’ (A) (1910) Un/12

I have had a couple of readers ask about Advent Candles. They wondered how I said Advent starts on the 29th yet their candles have bands on that are numbered 1-24? I will happily explain. The idea of the numbered ones is that every day you burn the wax down to the next band and then extinguish the flame, lighting up again the next day until a further band is eaten. Those are actually the true origins of the Advent Calendar, but they do only run from the start of the month. The “every Sunday” Advent candle can be any candle you like, though the earliest to light must be substantial enough to last the four weeks. You can either look out for a four arm candlestick in a collectables shop or home store, or you can buy or make four small candles in jars and light those. 

I wonder how many of our readers know that cards were issued with candles? Its true! 

Our featured illustration, at the top, is a card of postcard size that was issued in 1910 by Price’s Patent Candle Co Ltd. of London. The complete set was of twelve unnumbered and untitled cards, which have come to be known as ‘Famous Battles’. However there were three versions, as the back text varies before the wording “… Honours and Awards”, and you can find it with “84”, “86” and “90”, updating their progress in gaining those prizes. 

The battles are a mixture of Naval and Military battles. The earliest depicted is “The Spanish Armada 1588”, and the latest “Paardeberg, Boer War, February, 1900”. Our card is “Trafalgar, Oct 21, 1805”, and the inset picture, of course, is Lord Nelson.
And a complete set of 12 cards, including two with slight marks was sold on 12 Aug 2015 by Loddon Auctions.  

To read more about Price’s Candles, click on  – and the history page on the company’s website, which is

As well as candles, Price’s also made other products. An advertisement card was discovered in the 1980s, shaped as a bottle of glycerine, with their awards on the reverse. This must have been issued after 1895, because the awards run from 1851 to 1895. 

Between that discovery and 2006, when we produced our updated British Trade Index, another version of the glycerine bottle was discovered, with the awards on that dating to 1898. 

We also know of a calendar card for 1927 which shows a selection of candles, and a double sided ship-shaped card which shows soap on one side and candles on the other. Plus of eight postcards which show nursery rhymes adapted for a range of Price’s products including their very popular nightlights. 

If you have any of these in your collection, please ask us for a list of the known subjects, as it is possible that you have cards we do not yet know about, and both you and us will benefit by being able to add to our combined knowledge. 

Also, if anyone collects candle cards, or runs or knows of a website featuring them, or of any other issuers of such items, please tell us, at :

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