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Newsletter – April 09

Newsletter – April 09

Welcome to another week, and a week in which I got my first instalment of the anti-covid jab. So when life resumes, on Monday, I will be more prepared. Though it will definitely seem strange to go out and about again.

It was a week of other changes too, and as of now, for the time being, please contact us only through the special contact form at – the two emails that were associated with your webspinner (CSGB2020 – and – webspinner are no longer operational. However we will have a new one very soon, so keep scanning your cards and saving them to disc. And we will let you know the new address as soon as we can.

So lets have a look at what is going on this week.


On Saturday April 10th it will be National Siblings Day. And to all who asked why we did not mention Mary Pickford had siblings, the answer is because we hoped to surprise you today! She had a sister Lottie, and a brother, Jack and all were actors. Jack appears as card 34 of Edwards Ringer and Bigg “Cinema Stars” standard size (1923). Actually there are many movie siblings on cards. Some you will almost certainly know, like Lillian and Dorothy Gish, shown here in Bucktrout “Cinema Stars” and Norma and Constance Talmadge, though maybe not their sister, Natalie, who married Buster Keaton; then there are child stars Jane and Katherine Lee, and Madeleine and Marion Fairbanks. Moving into talkies, we have Constance and Joan Bennett – and Joan Fontaine and Olivia deHavilland – though you will never see the two on a card together as they did not get along. See how many siblings you can find in your own collection, and if you have a sibling, happy day to you both.


As far as Sunday April 11th, it is time to go beneath the sea and celebrate National Submarine Day – though strangely there are two of these a year, the first, on March 17, ( St. Patricks Day) marks when what would become the USS Holland was first demonstrated to the US Navy, in 1898 – whilst the second date, April 11, is the anniversary of the day the American government bought it, and started the Submarine force. However why this submarine was picked to gain such immortality is not known – it was not the first submarine ever built (that had been in 1620, built for King James I, though it was not a great success as it had to be rowed with oars) – or the first submarine to serve the USA, (which had been in the 1830s) – nor even the first submarine built by John Holland, (as there had been five previous models) The most curious fact is that when John Holland was drawing the plans he included a lot of ideas that were really good, but they had to be left off because there was no capability of making them work – however once nuclear power was discovered, his ideas were suddenly realities. gives a good introduction to the story of this amazing craft. And you can see thirty nine submarine cigarette cards at

Wills “Celebrated Ships” 8/50

This includes a very curious cartophilic reference, as according to card 246 of A & M Wix`s “This Age of Power and Wonder” issued in South Africa with Max Cigarettes, “Jules Verne forecast submarines”. The text goes on to say “In 80,000 Leagues under The Sea, Verne imagined a submarine Nautilus, very like the submarine of to-day…” – though this is not strictly true, not just because the novel is called 20,000 Leagues not 80,000, but as we already mentioned, the submarine had been reality since 1620, and there was already a submarine called the Nautilus, built by Robert Fulton in 1800, twenty four years before Jules Verne was born, its shown here on Wills “Celebrated Ships” 8/50, and even Fulton admitted that he had copied the name, which had been in use since the 1760s on a variety of vessels. Nautilus was actually the Latin translation of the original Ancient Greek word for “sailor”, as well as a marine mollusc which was first named as so in the 1750s by the Linnean Society.


On Monday the 12th of April it is National Licorice Day. Coincidentally on the 14th, at Tim Davidson Auctions, there are some AUSTRALIAN LICORICE Company, English Cricketers (1932/3), complete, Australian issue, creased (4) & ink stain (1), FR to VG, 18 – and you can see a sample card at – and do note that this set is very similar to the the STAR CONF. CO., Cricketers, and by Giant Brand licorice.
Our card is from “League and Association Footballers”, a set of 108 cards issued in 1933 with Licorice Larks, which was a brand name of Giant Licorice. They have either LEAGUE like our card or ASSOCIATION at the top above the circle.
For some reason Australians make and consume a lot of licorice, especially apple flavour which is green; and licorice connoisseurs say that Australian licorice is softer and chewier than any made in other countries.


The Royal Flying Corps was founded on April 13th, 1912. It was only in existence for just over five years, but even today has a magic about it. However originally it was simply part of the British Army, supporting them by aerial observation in balloon and aircraft, and later by taking photographs of enemy lines and encampments. They did not drop bombs until 1915, and these were usually hand grenades; the pin was hurriedly pulled and they were flung out of the aircraft, hoping to hit the target below. Parachutes were never part of the equipment, it was decreed that they took up too much room and weight inside the aircraft, but actually it was felt that having one might lead to the pilots using it to save themselves rather than bringing their valuable machines home.
The RFC became part of the Royal Naval Air Service in 1918, and formed an entirely new fighting group called the Royal Air Force. You can read all about the Royal Flying Corps at


On April 14th 1931 the first Highway Code was published by the Ministry of Transport; it cost a penny and had eighteen pages, including sections on how to approach and manage horses on the road. The first driving licence had been issued in 1903, but it did not involve a test, it was simply a way to record the vehicle and its driver in case of incident. The licence, sold at post offices, cost 5/-, and the most serious offence was not to sign it, for which there was a fine of up to £5. The first test of driving ability was in 1935, but one must have been “on the cards” because in 1934 W.D. & H.O. Wills issued a set of 50 cards called “Safety First”, (a series of cigarette cards of national importance) and these were illustrations of dangerous driving and how to avoid them. “Do Not Overtake at Bends”, “Avoid Cutting In”, “Beware of Road Junctions”, plus “Never Run an Engine in a Garage with the door closed”, and even a couple of cards giving advice to cyclists. The set also included police signals (with the policemen wearing white gauntlets) and arm and hand signals given by drivers (polite ones, of course). Car collectors may have bypassed this set, but they should look again as it is illustrated with lovely 1920s and 30s cars. And inside the front cover is a foreword by the then Minister of Transport, Leslie Hore-Belisha, part of whose name lives on in those orange globes at pedestrian crossings – they are called Belisha beacons. #


On April 15th 1901, the snooker player Joe Davis was born. You may think snooker only gained celebrity status in recent years but a look through sporting cigarette cards proves that in the 1920s and 30s snooker was very popular indeed.
Joe Davis appears on many sets, including Hill “Celebrities of Sport” 25/50, and this Gallaher “Champions” 46/48.
Now if you look at his face, he appears to be squinting, and he is, because he was not able to focus with his right eye.
One reason for his long lasting fame was that he was the first player to make an officially recognized maximum break, and that is possibly how he was still well known enough in the 1960s to be featured on
If you are into snooker and billiards, we highly recommend


Friday April 16th is National Orchid Day.
Wills “Flower Culture in Pots” 37/50 tells us that some orchids “..may be easily grown by the amateur in a cool house with a winter temperature of 45 – 50 degrees” and really they are easy plants to grow once they become established, they will also grow without any soil.
You will find single cards of orchids in most sets of flower cards, including our featured card by Ching of Jersey, who you can read more about at
However in 1925 Carreras issued an entire set of 25 cards devoted to these plants, each back tells of where they were discovered or introduced, and when, and there are some great pictures. The backs are also very modern with their yellow borders. You can collect the set in either standard or large size.

And now for your Cards of the Day for last week….

S548-100 [tobacco : UK] F & J Smith “Champions of Sport” (A)
red back numbered version (1902-3) ?/50.

Most of the cards in this set show cricketers, the rest being assorted other sports. There is also a blue back version that is unnumbered, of which originally only 46 cards were known: however we now know that is a full set of 50 and that 23 of the subjects are identical to the red back version. This red backed set is curious because we have found several sets of 50 with “Studio” brand backs but though it can also be found with one of 12 different advertisements, no complete sets have yet been seen in any of these backs.
F & J Smith were based in Glasgow they joined Imperial Tobacco Company in 1901 and became part of Mitchells at the end of 1927

Sunday –
S587-620 [tobacco : OS] Sniders & Abrahams Pty., Ltd. “Australian Cricket Touring Team” cabinet size sized at 170/180 × 100. (1909).

These do not appear in our RB.20 “Australasian Miscellaneous Booklet” of 1951 though it primarily deals with the issues of this company. And it’s not in RB.30 (1983) either, the updated volume which is just as hard to find. You have to wait until 1993 and and RB.33 before it appears at that time. In this it was given the reference number S88-46 and this very card was featured as the illustration. At that time 11 were known and it was recorded as “Australian Touring Team 1909”, being “inscribed Milo Cigarettes – Perfection”. It was stated that it was to be recorded in World Index VI but of course that never came to fruition. I am glad I bought these off D & M Books though I didnt realise my offer of a plug each time I used the books would lead to quite so many mentions! No more cards have been found since so it still stands at 11; however the reason for their slow discovery was almost certainly their large size. By the way the 1909 tour even came over here, and you can read about that at

Monday, in honour of National Tartan Day, we had SIN-050.25 Singer Sewing Machine Co. advertisement cards .

These were once thought to be a set recorded as “Military Uniforms”. The fronts are a bit misleading and lead to these bookmarks often being described as “silk bookmarks” in general auctions and sometimes online; this is because they show a picture and below it in a box they say “WORKED IN SILK ON SINGER`S SEWING MACHINE”, however just above that it states “Copy of Picture” so this is not a silk bookmark, just a bookmark with an image taken from a silk.

The backs contain extra advertising, most usually for the various insurance plans, as well as telling the reader that they also took current machines in part exchange for the latest models, or they could repair older machines.

The International Sewing Machine Collectors Society is the place to go to find out more, not just on Singer, but on all antique sewing machines, and you can see their gallery of cards at – plus visit other parts of their site through their top menu.

Tuesday – SO41-580 [tobacco : trade] Salmon & Gluckstein “Traditions of the Army and Navy” presumed 1917 (if so one of earliest returnees after WW1) ?/25.

Two styles were issued one with large numerals and one with smaller numerals and redrawn backs. This is a lovely set and it is pleasing to know that the National Army Museum has a set in their collection. The company was founded in 1845 as Salmon, Gluckstein & Co. at Crown Court Soho to make and sell cigars; tobacco started about 1873 by one of the brothers-in-law and the son of the original founder, who was also a director of J. Lyons (who would go on to issue many sets in the 1950s and 60s) and A I Jones, which had been founded in 1843. Until very recently it was presumed they only issued one set of cards that being “Nautical Terms”. Now this set is incredibly close in design to the Faulkner set of “Nautical Terms” but that does not include this card. The Faulkners were issued in 1900 and the Jones in 1905, so perhaps they bought unissued designs? Anyway according to the back of the Jones cards it was not a small enterprise, and it had 26 shops and a Head Office in Hammersmith, with the bottom of the card boasting that “other Branches will be opened shortly”. However quite recently it was discovered that they also issued an advertisement card this is larger size and it advertises a brand with Alexia mixture and has a poem on the back in brown) . Salmon and Gluckstein were one of the first firms in London to make cigarettes by mechanical means. They sold out to the Imperial Tobacco Company.


Wednesday – SO87-150 [tobacco : UK export] W Sandorides & Co. Ltd “Cinema Celebrities”

Sandorides were founded in the 1880s by I R Barkoff who sold it to J. Frankau. At one time the author Gilbert Frankau was chairman; and he wrote a novel called “Peter Jackson, Cigar Merchant – A Romance of Married Life”. Cards were not issued in Sandorides packets until 1923 when they started this lower priced brand “Lucana”.
Sandorides were eventually owned by Teofani, who were purely an export brand but they also issued the same set with several backs, either anonymously or branded but never carrying the Teofani name.
The set was also issued by The Associated Tobacco Manufacturers with differently branded back designs.

Thursday – Sinclair User Magazine “Poke Cards” “Short Circuit 2” 12/40

The film “Short Circuit 2” was released in 1988 and was originally only available on VHS video. Sinclair User Magazine was a great computer magazine as it was always giving away new things for readers to try out, these were usually stuck to the front cover, and there were all manner of supplements not just these cards – game play plans, maps, books etc. In 1978 Clive Sinclair first developed and retailed a computer called the MK14, the MK stood for Micro Kit, as you had to assemble at home before you could use it. This was followed by the ZX80 and ZX81, which had approximately just 15KB of internal memory, so they used cassette tapes to store your work. In addition, there was no monitor, you plugged it into your home television, though it only resulted in black and white output, not colour. Despite its failings it can definitely be credited with introducing so many of us to computing, and if you also you remember your Sinclair with fondness, or the magazines, have a look at: which shows all the issue covers from 1982 to 1993, and even some of the contents.

Friday – shreddies “Thundercats Stick N Lift stickers” (1987)

We called these “Shreddies” but actually they were issued by Nabisco with Shreddies Cereal. It seems like this card is the backing card, and the stickers were peeled off from the top, leaving this card for you to also collect. However we would be interested to hear from a proper cereal collector. Thundercats ran from 1985 to 1989, and the story was that humanoid cats came together to save the World. This chap was called “Prince Lion-O”, and I have to say there is a strong hint of the original series of Gladiators about him. Agree? That was first screened in 1992, so its not impossible that the ideas are linked. Anyway Thundercats episodes ran for half an hour each, and in America the “full set” was 130 episodes!
It was remade in 2011 and released by Warner Brothers, but if you would like to see an original advert, from the late 1980s, do check out :

And that`s all folks, for this week at least – last week`s weekly newsletter is still available, if you missed it, at:

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