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Easter Monday – Easter Bonnets

Easter Monday – Easter Bonnets

Continuing our theme, today we close with Easter Monday. The one thing we have not yet covered is the Easter Parade, when traditionally ladies would dress in their finest gowns and what was known as an Easter bonnet. Whilst these may have been specially purchased by wealthier ladies, anyone could make a hat into an Easter bonnet by the addition of flowers and little representations of creatures. For many centuries the tradition was to always wear something new at Easter, this was supposed to guard you from ill harm and also ensure your soul would be renewed after your death. It was seen as bad luck to wear new clothes during Lent, a fact which was mentioned by William Shakespeare in Romeo and Juliet. However after Lent, you could make up for lost time as it were, especially when you went to Church. So in most towns and villages the ladies would make a big show of walking to church in their best clothes and add more frills and trimmings to their bonnets. 

The first “Easter Parade” was actually in New York, and it was way back in 1870, and it seems to have developed from the fact that people hung around to see the people leaving St Patrick`s Cathedral in their finery, every year this attracted more spectators, and eventually the parade became more a parade than a churchgoing. The biggest attendance of participants and spectators was, strangely, in wartime, in 1940, but of course that may have had something to do with the fact it was the first Easter after the start of the Second World War – even though America did not enter the war themselves until Pearl Harbour, the 7th of December 1941, the storm clouds were on the horizon for all to see.  The parade actually went down Fifth Avenue, which is a great link to a film which has become so many people`s favourite viewing at this time of year. It was a bit too late to appear on conventional cards but you can actually see Judy Garland, in “Easter Parade”, on a Carreras Turf Slide. You can see the whole set at


Our large featured card shows a bonnet that may well have been sported at an Easter Parade. However this card is C504-060 [tobacco : UK] Churchman “Beauties CERF” Un/12, and that, at last, also gives us a chance to chat about something that many of our readers ask about, and that is the odd letters that appear after some sets.

Briefly, when the early collectors first started to shift from just collecting to making notes and researching the origins of the cards they so loved, they found out something odd, and that was that the same front pictures often appeared on cards with different front or back wording. So the dilemma was how to record this fact. We can thank Colonel Charles Lane Bagnall for coming up with the answer, namely the “Cartophilic Code”; a military man, he would have been well versed in using various acronyms in the forces, so he obviously thought why not use that familiarity to catalogue his collection of cards. Therefore the acronym was compiled of the first letter of the issuer’s name – not the brand, the difference being that the issuer was the maker of the cigarettes and the brand was the name on the packet the cards were issued in. Some issuers had many brands, and it would have been too confusing; also it was not always known which brands many of the early cards had extracted from. You mostly get these letters appearing on cards of actresses and beauties – and remember an actress has a name on the card and a beauty does not. Several of the beauties were actually actresses appearing uncredited but that is a tale for another time. The acronym of “Beauties CERF”, despite being formed by four letters, is only three issuers, Churchman provides the “C”, Edwards Ringer & Bigg gives us the “E” and “R” (though the front of the cards only credit “Ringers”, see our smaller illustration) and Franklyn Davey the “F”. It is a very attractive coloured set and seems to have been one that many early smokers saved, hence it is still reasonably easily found today. We know that the Churchman version was printed by Mardon Son and Hall, and was issued in October 1904. There is also an anonymous version, thought to have been cut from printers proof sheets.


Sometimes, when very few issuers were known, the acronym was a composite of even more letters, for example “Actresses ANGOOD” was only actually issued by Goodbody and in an anonymous form, and “Actresses MUTA” by Macdonald and United Tobacconists` Association. These acronyms are always very easy to spot as they will always be in capital letters after the name of the set. So if you see one, and would like to know more, just please email us and we will give you all the gen.


Now the acronymic set that seems to be the most popular, with the most different issuers is known as “Actresses FROGA” – the name comes from Faulkner, Richmond Cavendish, Ogdens, Goodbody and the Anonymous version, the first letters of which made up the construction of the acronym. I am not sure in this case why they needed the “A” as “FROG” is a very acceptable word, but maybe they did not wish the ladies to be compared with frogs. However if that was the case, how did we get the much more unfavourable acronyms of “HAGG”, “BAGG”, and “RASH” ?

Faulkner`s version of “Actresses FROGA” has the honour of being the first set ever mentioned in a Cartophilic Society Reference Book, namely No.1, issued in 1942. It was stated to have been “issued after 1896”, and was already known to come in three versions, a set of possibly twenty-five printed by Forbes Litho, a set of twenty-six “Golden Whiffs” probably printed in Germany, and a set of fifty probably printed by Mardon Son and Hall. The plain back anonymous version was thought to have also been issued by Faulkner.

However, this was not the first time this information had appeared in print, because it had started out in as part of The London Cigarette Card Company`s Cigarette Card News, where, in Volume 1, number 3, dated December 1933, on page 20, appeared the start of a new series, entitled “THE FOUNDATION OF A STANDARD CATALOGUE”, which promised to record British Manufacturers Issues with cigarettes and tobacco. Now it is no use looking for “Actresses FROGA” because at that time it was not called that – here it appears as “Eminent Actresses”, and there were already three series –

one of 25 or 30, though it stated that in the records of Messrs. Faulkner there were only 22 different cards listed; these were printed by Forbes Litho Manfg Co. and had no name below the picture, whilst the design on the back was in chocolate, very similar to Mardon Son & Hall design, differing only in slight details – (the first set mentioned in the 1942 book)

one of possibly 25, presumably printed by Mardon, Son & Hall, as design on back is the same as their ” Boer War” series. Pictures in deep plum colour. Again no names below the pictures – (this being the last series from the 1942 book)

and lastly a set of 25 or 30 brightly coloured pictures with what was called a drab border. In this case the names of the actresses did appear below the picture along with “Golden Whiffs”, a name which also appeared in black on the back. (the second series from the 1942 book)

By 1950, the set had been renamed to “Actresses FROGA”, been split into four different series, and lots more issuers had been discovered. The four series were:

Group A, a series of 26 cards, which had increased to nineteen UK tobacco issuers, the additions being Archer, Biggs, Cadle (as shown here but seemingly in black and white), Churchman, Cohen Weenan, Cope, Hignett, Hill, Hudden, L&Y (this being Lancs and Yorks Tobacco Manufacturing Co. Ltd of Burnley – it was their only set), Morris, Muratti, Quinton (James Quinton of London, also their only issue), and Roberts.
Some of these, as we already know, had previously been listed under a separate group known as “Eminent Actresses”, a title which only appeared on the Goodbody version, so obviously the Goodbody version had been discovered first and was used as the name for the cards which followed, one of which was Faulkner.
The Ogdens set had also been found to either have domino or playing card backs.
Then there were two new UK trade issuers (Ellis Davis tea and Dunn hats), and two overseas (Chas Mitchell of Toronto, Canada, who were export agents, and Planter`s Stores, India). And since 1950 we have also discovered a tobacco version by Roman Star Cigars.

Groups B and C were different subjects but in a similar style, in fact C includes actors. These groups added tobacco issuers Mitchell, Muratti, and Pritchard and Burton, and a trade issuer, Edmondson`s Confectionery. By 1950, the Muratti set had an additional card, making it alone a set of 27; the actor was Mr. Charles Wyndham – and this Muratti version is now a set of 31, which tends to back up the original thought that these two groups were a set of 50 subjects.

Group D, a series of 50, also of actors and actresses, was only issued by Mitchell.

Obviously more research is needed to find out what happened to the other two sets originally listed by Faulkner. So watch our newsfeeds!



The next acronym you are most likely to come across is “Beauties CHOAB”
Originally CHOAB stood for Churchman, Hudden, Ogden, Archer, Biggs, but by 1950 Bradford of Liverpool, Hignett, Morris, Muratti (as shown here with the mauve-ish border) and Roberts had been added, whilst cards by an American issuer Drummond, of St Louis, Missouri, was added more recently. This set was considered to be two sets of 25, but as the years passed that thought was revised when number 35 of the Hignett set was discovered, and Bradford and Muratti turned out to be sets of 50. 


Returning to Actresses HAGG” and Pretty Girls “BAGG” and “RASH”, “HAGG” was comprised of two groups, originally a group of fourteen cards issued by Hill (with two more added much later) and an anonymous version – and a group of ten cards by Gabriel and Glass which provided the Gs, though in fact at first just three of the subjects were known by Gabriel (all have now been found), All ten cards were later also found to have been issued by Baker, Bell (an update from their original just four) and Newbegin.  “BAGG” came from Byrt Wood, (a really scarce one from Bristol – this was their only set), Anonymous, Gabriel and Goodbody, plus Churchman and more recently Drapkin and Millhoff, James (again their only set), Fabrica Nacional de Tabacos of Buenos Aires and Robinson of Durban in South Africa.  And “RASH” was, dare I say, given to us, by Richmond Cavendish, Adkin, Salmon & Gluckstein and Hudden, plus, by 1950, Hignett, with Brankston, United Tobacconists Association and Murai of Japan being discovered more recently.


Now remember we said “You mostly get these letters appearing on cards of actresses and beauties”? Well the other sets that have acronyms are a few series covering the Boer War, and all are called “Boer War Celebrities”. You might think that War is not a subject for Easter, so I will add the details of those once Easter has passed and this article finds its home amongst the research pages. However, it does give me a chance to mention a military set which has a link to Easter, namely E265-060 [tobacco : UK] Edwards, Ringer & Bigg “Easter Manoeuvres of our Volunteers” (1897) Un/3 – the three being “The Attacking Force”, “The Defending Force” and “The Battle”. Maybe a military historian knows why these were issued, and whether they represent a real battle. If so do get in touch.



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