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Looking for your regular newsletter ?

Yes you may need your binoculars this week, as we are having a temporary change of position – not only because this weekend we are also having a four day Easter Special, and if you missed it you can find yesterday`s article, all about the story of the Hot Cross Bun, at – but also because there are a few other fantastic changes in the pipeline, and I am testing to see if we can run these as posts not newsletters.

So now let us see if it works. And do tell us what you think, we love hearing from you all.

Two important pieces of news this week, in case you missed them – and remember if you do think you have missed any news items do check out our news archive at – our three newsfeed boxes fill pretty quickly, and this will almost certainly happen faster now we are being released from our isolation – we also hope that we will need them for meeting and fair dates very soon.

The first is that we have been asked to announce that the original paintings used to illustrate the Infantry Regimental Colours in those excellent David J Hunter sets of cards are to be sold at auction by Mellors and Kirk of Nottingham. As soon as we hear more we will tell you but you can read what we know at

While the second was a great discovery about the Maynards football cards and you can read that at

And now to our regular newsletter….

Can it be as long ago as 3 April 1893 that Leslie Howard, “Ashley Wilkes” in “Gone With The Wind” was born as Leslie Howard Steiner? If you look at the text on Lea “Famous Film Stars” A Series (1934) 51/54, along with several other cards, it records his name as “Stainer” – this was not strictly true, but during the First World War he changed his name to that temporarily because it sounded too German. When he enlisted in the First World War he used his original name and that is what appears in the military records. During the war he was wounded, and then invalided out of the army in 1916/17, not as a result of the injury, but of shell shock. He became a very popular actor on stage and screen, but was selective about the roles he took. His most famous film was “Gone With The Wind”, though he was not keen on the role, thinking himself too old, the character too much of a weakling, and he hated the costumes. During the Second World War he was very involved with Allied propaganda, making many radio broadcasts and short documentaries. The most shocking fact about him is that if you look at the place of his death it will say June 1, 1943, in the Bay of Biscay. This is because whilst on a morale boosting tour his flight was shot down by German aircraft and plunged into the sea. There were seventeen people aboard including the four crew, and a mother and two daughters aged 12 and 2. After the war it was discovered that the attack was known of in advance, but telling anyone, or calling it off would have revealed that the enigma code had already been broken. According to the Trading Card Database, Leslie Howard appears on eighty-two cards, the earliest being the 1933 Wills Australia set of “Famous Film Stars” 98/100 which is available in standard and medium size. I have not been able to find a card of him in “Gone With the Wind” but Ardath “From Screen and Stage” does show him with Clark Gable in a still from “A Free Soul” (1931, Metro Goldwyn Mayer) – curiously, the set was issued quite a while after, in 1936, five years is a long time in Hollywood and the film would surely not have been that memorable – and that text also gives his name as Stainer. 


We have selected three cards that we like best – they are Carreras “Film Favourites” (1938) 24/50 – Carreras “Film Stars (Ovals)”(1934) 50/72 – and Lea “Famous Film Stars” A Series (1934) 51/54


On the 4th of April, it is National Vitamin C Day. Now the best natural source of Vitamin C is citrus fruit, like the lemon. Players Useful Plants and Fruits (1902) has a super image, and the text tells us that it originally came from the Himalayas, and was introduced to Europe in the eleventh century. However it took until 1747 for the lemon to come into its own as a cure for the disease scurvy, which was running rife in the Navy; actually both lemons and limes were trialled as a cure, but the lemon was found to be doubly effective, so why it led to the British Sailors common nickname, of “limeys”, is very curious. Vitamin C also has other medicinal powers; it can fight and prevent colds, reduce blood pressure, ease gout, and act as an anti-oxidant against light and pollution, so much so that it is often added to skin care cream. Yet it has only had a National Day since 2019. 


The 5th of April is National Read a Road Map Day. Road maps have been around since the seventeenth century, though The Gough Map, thought to date from 1360, does show lines between major towns, and can be viewed at  Whatever map you use, they are great, even, or perhaps especially if you cant leave your house, just spreading one on the floor and tracing your favourite journey can provide much fun and reminiscence, though it is not as immediately visual, or as easily updateable, as googlemaps. The main problem with paper maps is that they are sometimes hard to control in gales, and there is a risk of losing your place if they move. Strange then, that maps appear on cards, often as sectional series which provided a whole map in small pieces. Ardath did indeed issue a “Modern School Atlas” in 1936 (imagine a tobacco company sponsoring one of those today), Millhoff did a “Geographia Map Series” (1931) which covered London and the Home Counties, and Mitchell a “Road Map of Scotland” (1933), shown top left, which can be found with small numerals, large numerals, and with a red overprint. Cycling maps on cards were very popular, Churchman and Ogdens each issued a “Sectional Cycling Map”, Churchmans was issued in 1913, and Ogdens, shown bottom left, in 1910; look out for card 12 in the Ogdens set of which shows a huge expanse of the Irish Sea and a very small portion of the Isle of Man. Lever Brothers also issued a map with Sunlight Soap, sticking to England and Wales , though Dublin can be glimpsed at the very edge of card 9. There were even two series of  “War Map of the Western Front” by Edwards Ringer and Bigg, the first, as shown right on our illustration (1916) was colour and the second (1917) sepia. I could be flippant and suggest these must have been awkward to use in a trench, but the sad truth is that these were most likely laid out and followed at home in conjunction with the newspapers, and were often the only visual souvenir of where a loved one had gone missing or fought their final battle. 


The 6th of April is National Tartan Day. Many sets of cards on Scotland at least have a flash of tartan, but in 1927 Stephen Mitchell issued two sets devoted to them, each front having a portrait inset at the top and the rest of the card devoted to an image of the tartan. The reverse tells the biography of the person in the portrait. Do be aware that they were reprinted for collectors in 1991. We also have a curio as the right hand card in our mini gallery above is also captioned as M757-440 : Stephen Mitchell & Son “Clan Tartans” (1927), but that is obviously wrong. So what is the set and date of that one? Tartan was originally a way to tell clans apart in battle, and the reason for the different colours was simply that the makers used natural dyes, which varied according to the plants which grew in any one area. However in 1746 the tartan was actually banned by a governmental act designed to control the clan system. It was very unpopular and was finally repealed in 1782, after which it was adopted by non-warriors and soon became part of the national costume of Scotland. When Queen Victoria first visited Scotland and then bought Balmoral Castle, they were encouraged to use local fabrics in the interior, including tartans; Prince Albert seems to have had a liking for the various Stewart tartans, but also designed the Balmoral tartan, whilst Queen Victoria is reputed to have designed the Victoria Tartan. These were both “dress tartans” rather than “clan tartans”, in other words non historical designs.


On 7th of April, martial arts fans will be celebrating the birthday of Jackie Chan, he was born in Hong Kong then his family moved to Australia. Once he grew older he relocated to Hong Kong, and started appearing in movies. Two of these starred Bruce Lee, and after his death Jackie Chan was almost forced into becoming his replacement. Eventually he gained more control over his films, but sadly not before appearing in The Cannonball Run as a driver from Japan. he always does his own stunts, despite many injuries, and if you watch his films always stay until the very end as he often uses outakes in a show reel at the end after or whilst the titles are running. He also uses his income wisely, donating to education and environmental related charities; he is very keen on encouraging children to stay in school, possibly because his own education was often interrupted. He is also a UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador, and was awarded the M.B.E. in 1989. Amazingly, the first card he appeared on was Donruss “Americana II” issued in 2008, which has many proofs, promos and other specials available. He was also card number one of the 2009 series, which we show here. And he appears on a long running set of cards which were issued with “Jackie Chan Adventures Magazine”, another way he tries to get through to young people. See those cards at


On the 8th of April 1093, Winchester Cathedral was dedicated by Bishop Walkelin. This building appears  on Churchman “Cathedrals and Churches” 24/25 (top left) which tells us that its real name is the Cathedral Church of St. Swithin, which refers to the fact that St. Swithun, who according to Wills “Cathedrals” large (1933) 23/25 (right) was at first Prior then Bishop of Winchester, was buried near to and then inside the original Old Minster Church. Several Saxon Kings are also buried inside, though many have been moved, including Alfred the Great, and it used to be the venue for Coronations and State Funerals. Jane Austen is also buried there. Wills “The Nations Shrines” 25/25 tells us this was not the original cathedral of 642, but a rebuild which started in 1079. In fact it was also slightly shifted from the original site. Our other card, bottom left, is Wills “Borough Arms” second edition (1906) card 61. And our own link to Winchester can be read at  – which is our only branch with a ghost story. Unless you know otherwise…..


Now the 9th of April is an odd one, as it is National Winston Churchill Day. No, it is not his birthday, not any other major event, it curiously celebrates the date that he was made an honorary citizen of the United States, in 1963. Now the most famous set of Churchill card is  A & B.C. Gum “Winston Churchill”, a set of 55 cards issued in 1965. Though they are black and white, they do contain many unusual images, including card 22, which shows him meeting Sir Stanley Matthews at Wembley, not at the F.A. Cup, but at the England vs Scotland Match on the 4th of October 1941. Our cards are easier to acquire, the left hand one is Brooke Bond “Famous People” (1969) 29/50 and the right hand one Lingford`s Custard and Baking Powder “British War Leaders” (1950) 6/36

And now to our “Cards of the Day” from last week …


Saturday – RAD-090 [trade : UK] Radio Fun “British Sports Stars” (1956) – this was first included in our British Trade Index volume two as RAF-1. Cards one to five were issued singly and the rest (6-20) as strips of five cards which had to be cut into singles if desired. A special folder was issued to keep all the cards in. Our book also cites a set called “Sportsmen” (A) in medium size, only one was known, Ray Lindwall, and it was thought that it was an Australian Issue. The truth behind this is that Radio Fun was a magazine, which was also issued in Australia and New Zealand, and it turned out that this set was only issued in the Antipodes; it was actually not “Sportsmen”, at all, it was “Famous Test Cricketers”. It therefore no longer fell into the scope of the British Trade Index and was removed to that really useful volume RB30. (Another quick plug due to D & M Books, who sold it to me). It also contains a curious fact, that the magazine ran into problems when issuing cards as adhesive cards proved “impossible to send” to Australia and New Zealand, or so it says on the back of the Film Star Series. 

Sunday – R551-400 [tobacco : UK] E. Robinson & Sons Ltd “Nature Studies” (1914) ?/40
E. Robinson was founded in Stockport in 1860. They are not very well known but they bought out Illingworth of Kendal in 1931 (who issued what is regarded the first ever set of general interest “Views of the English Lakes” in 1895) and Pattreiouex of Manchester in 1934, before themselves being obtained by Gallaher in 1937.
Their brands included “Forget-Me-Not”, “General Favourite Onyx”, “Songster”, “King Lud”, “Terra Cotta” (a bit of an earthy smoke, methinks ?) and the one our card came through “Keemo” (shown in our “Directory of Issuers” RB.7) as “Kemo”)

Cigarette Card

Monday – R980-150 Rutter “Comic Phrases” (1905) Un/54
Rutter had a factory at Ravensbury Mills in Mitcham Surrey and an outlet at Great Queen Street in West London, they were founded in 1767 and acquired by Anstie of Devizes in 1925. The reason why they were bought by Anstie is because they both specialised in snuff and shag tobacco.
Before that, their brands had featured their home town, “Mitcham Cricket Green” and “Mitcham Cigarettes” being the best known.

Some of these cards, perhaps all, had also been issued by Hudden in 1900. The entire set was also issued by Murai Bros of Japan, also in 1900, though I am not sure of what the Japanese made of many of the subjects.

Tuesday – R127-800 [tobacco : UK] The Record Cigarette Co. “Talkie” Cigarette Cards large size 70mm and they actually play on a gramophone. The records are interviews by leading personalities, including footballers and other sportsmen. There is a larger disc available, just one, perhaps a trial as it is 105mm diameter, and circular; it is inscribed “The Record Tobacco Co.”, but you can find the smaller discs either with “The Record Tobacco Co.” or “The Record Cigarette Co.” as the manufacturer, Dobrico, used both names. They were based at 30 City Road, in East London. For more information, and a list of some of the people who were featured speaking on them, click over to  – and – 
It is intriguing that this last one is an advert from a football programme. So perhaps the theatre personalities were advertised in their magazines?

Wednesday – R529-100 [tobacco : UK] Roberts & Sons “Armies of the World” (1900) Un/25
Robert Roberts & Sons had works at 117 Finsbury Pavement, Moorgate, London EC2 (which later became their retail shop) and at William Street in Euston. They were founded in 1818, which makes them one of London`s oldest manufacturing businesses. Some of their brands were “Bee Hive”, “Bobs”. “H.A.C.” and “Fine Old Virginia”, through which this set was issued. It can also be found with a plain back though; these may have been cut printers proofs, but enough were available, and early enough that they appear for sale in the 1950 London Cigarette Card Company Catalogue of Comparative Values, where the branded cards are listed at a minimum price of 50/- and the plains at 35/- (these being shillings, for our younger readers). The handbook to this volume tells us that this was a much issued set, by British and Colonial Tobacco Co., Pezaro (Nestor Cigarettes), Redford, Wholesale Tobacco Supply Co (“Hawser Brand” – the only cards which actually say “Armies of the World”) and even The Egyptian Cigarette Manufacturing Co of Shanghai, China. The cards range from the Argentine Republic`s Engineer Corps to the United States of Brazil’s Officer of Artillery. Great Britain is represented by the card we show card and the Highlander. Also look at the card of the Chili (sic) – Infantry, and the portraits of Portugal – Lieutenant of Infantry and Spain – Carabinier which are sometimes transposed by a printing error, no idea how this could have happened unless the original plate was damaged and the paste up was a rush job.

Thursday R145-100 : USA/T129 [tobacco : OS] Red Man “Indian Chiefs” large 102 x 93 (1952) 36/40
Red Man was a chewing tobacco, based in Toledo Ohio USA, their cards were issued in the 1950s and they deserve to be better known because between 1952 and 1955 they issued the only post war baseball cards ever issued with tobacco – every other set of baseball cards issued post war was with a commodity or trade item.
These American Indian Chiefs made a lot of you think they were a previously unseen Allen and Ginter printed album, but the truth is that Red Man just used the images from set A400-020, reversed.
And you can read more about this at

Friday – REE-070 [trade : UK] Reeves Ltd “Cricketers”.
These colourful cards were first listed as REK-1 in our British Trade Index 1. They had descriptive backs with a biography of the player in between a header which said “REEVES` CHOCOLATE” and a footer which said “REEVES`, LTD., GLASGOW” These were issued in 1912 and are a numbered set of 25 .
The cricketer is Wilfred Rhodes of Yorkshire, and you can read more about him at

Well that was not entirely successful, but once I started adding the top pictures it got a lot better – this way would also allow for many more images, which I am certain is a plus, though it has been a bit of a rush to produce them all today… as doing this was was rather a spur of the moment decision. But it did all get done, and though it was slightly shorter than I had hoped, our Easter specials will give you additional reading. Also last week`s weekly newsletter is still available , if you missed it, at:

Finally, don`t forget that if you enjoy our website, there is lots more in our bi-monthly printed card collecting magazine – but you can’t buy it on a news-stand, it’s only available from us on subscription. So to read more about membership, and the associated benefits, please click HERE    

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