The home of the Cartophilic Society of Great Britain

february 12

Welcome to another “Notes and News

Picture… and to a whole New Year, at least in China, where the Year of the Metal Ox has just begun today, February 12 – and their celebrations, plus ours, will continue until the Lantern Festival on February 26th.

Every year the dates are different, and you can read why, plus visit a host of other Chinese related articles, as they appear, at our off-world site, because the site will continue to develop throughout that time. as a rolling event. As for why, well, we have also decided to test an idea! As you will know we have now reached “M” in our “Card of the Day” Cartophilic Alphabet, half way through already – but this means we must look forward and think of what to do when we reach “Z”? We can start the alphabet again, or we can move into covering themes of cards, as we will be testing with Chinese New Year.

So if you like it, or if you, don’t, or if you have any other ideas on “Card of the Day” please tell us at

PictureFebruary 13 1743 – Joseph Banks was born in London. His passion for botany began at school. From 1760 to 1763 he studied at Oxford University, during which time he inherited a considerable fortune. In 1766, Banks travelled to Newfoundland and Labrador, collecting plant and other specimens. The same year he was elected a fellow of the Royal Society. In 1768, he joined the Society’s expedition, led by Captain James Cook, to explore the uncharted lands of the South Pacific. The expedition circumnavigated the globe and visited South America, Tahiti, New Zealand, Australia and Java. Banks collected an enormous number of specimens on the way and, on his return, his scientific account of the voyage and its discoveries sparked considerable interest across Europe. Banks was interested in plants that could be used for practical purposes and be introduced into other countries for possible commercial use. After he became president of the Royal Society in 1778, he promoted the career of many scientists and in his capacity as director of the Royal Botanic Gardens at Kew, sent many botanists abroad to find new plants and extend the Gardens’ collection. In 1781 Banks was made a baronet, and in 1795 received the order of Knight Commander of the Bath. Two years later he was admitted to the privy council. In 1793, his name was given to the Banks Islands, a volcanic group of islands near Vanuatu in the Pacific. These were explored and named by Captain Bligh – Banks had helped arrange a previous expedition of Bligh’s on HMS Bounty, which had ended in the famous mutiny. Banks died on 19 June 1820.

our Featured Card is W.D. & H.O. Wills “Wonders of the Past” (24/50)

Gallaher Ltd. (1929) ‘Zoo Tropical Birds, 2nd Series’

February 14 is Valentine’s Day, the date when we can reveal our true feelings without anyone else knowing. It is also, traditionally, the date that birds choose their mates; which makes it a good choice for National Nest Box week – 

Saint Valentine looks after love, marriage, and engagements, but he also protects bee keepers, and people with plague or epilepsy.
And apparently there are lots of possible candidates for the real St. Valentine as well.

Beekeeping was practised in ancient China from the dawn of time (though bees and hunting them for their honey first appear on cave paintings in Europe), and there was even a textbook written on the art by Fan Li, a prominent Chinese military strategist, politician, and businessman, which advises how to maintain your bees and which wood is best for them to live in to add to the sweetness of their honey.

PictureFebruary 15, 1971, was “D-Day”, or Decimalisation day in Britain. You can read more about this at

On this day the old system was simplified, much to many people’s regret, so now there would only be 100 pennies to a pound, not the 240 there had been today, and many of our old friends disappeared, like the curious farthing (a quarter of a penny).

Strangely, a decimal system is also used in Chinese currency – ten “fen” make a “jiao” and ten jiao make one yuan. 


This interesting card, from “Time and Money”, was issued by W.D. & H.O. Wills, but you can also find the same card issued by Fry, the confectioners.

PictureFebruary 16 should have seen Mardi Gras ceremonies worldwide, but most have been cancelled due to restrictions and lockdowns. We earnestly hope that one day life will return to normality, it is not the same watching re-runs of old parades and people are missing out a lot by not being able to take part, especially as many generations have done the same parade. But this is not the first time the festivities in New Orleans have been cancelled, as you can read at  

Strangely there is a link between China and that Mardi Gras, as in 2005, a film was made entitled “Mardi Gras: Made in China” and it tells the story of how the beads are produced in a small Chinese factory, before they end up on the costume parade, and then are sent on New York for an exhibition.

Our featured card is one of many given away at the parades, some are even thrown in the crowd from the floats. A new collecting idea, perhaps? 

PictureIn Europe, February 17 is known as the day of the Burial of the Sardine; a strange custom that summons Lent; a big model of a sardine is ceremonially buried in the sand – to note there will be no more fish until Lent has passed. Though the word “Sardine” possibly comes from the Mediterranean island of Sardinia, around which the seas were once shiny with them, they are also fished around the world.
The Chinese character for sardine consists of two component characters, including one meaning “fish” and the other meaning “weak.” This was because the fish was very small and would have to be eaten quickly in order to retain its freshness. The Japanese name for sardine has a similar root. And China is now a leading canner of sardines.

Our Sardine comes from “Fish From American Waters”, issued by American Tobacco Co. 

February 18 is National Drink Wine Day –  and Mijiu, or rice wine is a major ingredient in Chinese Cuisine, whether at home or in restaurants. Unlike actual wine with its fruit base, that can irritate sensitive stomachs, rice wine is in fact made from rice, fermented and turned into alcohol by the introduction of yeast. It is also used for cooking, and to make meat and seafood more tender.

Apologies that this card is not more Oriental – I have had computer trouble and only just managed to borrow a replacement tonight. This makes this the fastest newsletter production ever, and some corners were cut. However it has also taught me a few new tricks and methods of production which will be continued once I have time to get the back off my machine and have a fossick around in its internals….

So what has been going on this week? Hope you managed to get your bids in at one or more of the auctions we advertised this week? Our local auction was today but it was a closed sale, online bidding only. Lets hope this does not last for too long. One thing I did enjoy this week was the Lockdales catalogue, the sale is on the 17th, and no, it is not cards, but it does have the most amazing collection of carved wooden figures to represent people from true life, highwaymen. pirates, and other criminals, marvels of human size and age, and local East Anglian characters, all have inscriptions, and they are really entertaining and informative, do have a look. They start at lot 347, but if you click HERE you ought to start at the first and then it is a simple case of looking at the top, clicking on NEXT LOT and moving through to the next “in picture” lot. It is a shame that they will almost certainly be split up now, as museums just do not have the cashflow these days, so this could be your one and only chance to ever see them together as a collection. And to the carver, my congratulations – its incredible work.

By the way, our own postal auction catalogue is now available, I am just working on adding the pictures. Remember if you want to see them in greater detail a link will be added shortly – this is because photos will not load on the main site unless they are already in the gallery, so I upload them there and then just copy them across. It seems to work.

I have not bought anything remotely cartophilic this week, though I have a lead on some interesting books. and I continue to work through my list on a nightly basis. But the hunting is fun, so long may it continue. I cant wait for the return to normal life, actually visiting fairs and auctions.

our Cards of the Day for this week


Saturday – MAS-150 [trade : UK] The Master Vending Machine Co. Ltd “Cardmaster Football Tips” (1958) 22/50. Master Vending issued cards, and a ball of gum, (which was manufactured by A & B.C. Chewing Gum) in arcade style machines, you inserted money in one slot and these cards slid out of another slot. They were based in Cricklewood Lane, London, but they only issued cards for about a year and less than ten sets, before they went into liquidation.
Curiously there are two different poses of each footballer so you can also get Billy Liddell as card number 10. Football card fans will have also noticed that these drawings have a tell tale signature to the front, of Paul Trevillion; at which point we are honour bound to pass on the news that he is a currently a regular writer for, and contributor to, another card magazine “The Card Scene”, in fact their January-March issue, hot off the press, has not only a huge article about him, but also includes a special promotional card as shown here. The magazine is not available in shops, but you can click on card scene weebly and subscribe, or find out when it will be added to the list of back issues to be sold separately. On which note, Master Vending was discussed at length in a previous issue, which is available as a back issue, but is nearing the status of many of the others, and sliding towards the “limited stock” category. So enquire ASAP before the “limited” becomes “out of”.   
And also note that Paul Trevillion runs his own website at https://www.paultrevillion

PictureSunday – M884-130.3 [tobacco : UK] B. Morris & Sons “General Interest Series” (A) (1900). This firm has a very interesting story, founded in 1810 with premises at Half Moon Passage in Aldgate, East London,  they became a Limited Company in 1826. They were one of the first issuers of cards, and also probably the first to use gift coupons. Under their control were the companies of Cabana, Ottoman, Levy, and Alberge & Bromet. This curious amalgamation may well have been five short sets as each are titled, and sets of six were common in Europe – it could have been entered in our reference books as a conjoined set simply to save space. Indeed many dealers list it as the sets of six cards.  I suppose we will never know of Morris`s original intention, and there is no precedent from Morris` other issues, as there would have been if they had a habit of issuing sets of six. I ought to apologise for the condition, which is only fair at best – however I have no intention of replacing them because these were the first true cigarette cards I bought, as a box of assorted odds, off a school mate. And they are therefore also the first set I ever made up from a part set. And as that, they deserve to stay, to remind me of my beginnings, until the end of time.

Monday – M111-600.a [tobacco : OS] Maclin-Zimmer (or Maclin-Zimmer-McGill Tobacco Co. Petersburg, Virginia, USA “Playing cards” (actresses) (1890). This company was associated with Moore & Calvi, and issued cards about 1885-1895. This set of 53 large sized cards was issued in 1890. Note the way that the playing card dots form part of the image rather than being in opposing corners. The set comes in two printings, the first (a.) just has “Maclin-Zimmer” in the centre circle of the reverse whilst the second (b.) adds “McGill”. Both cite the same “Factory No.10 – Petersburg, 2nd Dist., VA” but the second has either (a.) “Hard-A-Port” to the front or (b.) “Trumps Long Cut”, possibly this was a McGill brand. For an amazingly well researched biography of the two companies please take time to read: 
And if you simply want to see more of the lovely cards from this set, the place to go is

Mutoscope “Glamour Girls” (1940)

Tuesday – Mutoscope “Glamour Girls” – Just like Master Vending cards, these cards were also issued through vending machines in the 1940s, however the subject matter is rather different.

The artist of this one is Gil Elvgren, a very popular “pin up” artist, who drew many different models from life, some of these cards being entirely an accurate representation of one model, specifically posed, and others being parts from assorted sessions. One of his early models was the as yet very unknown Marilyn Monroe, so it is possible that she, or a part of her, appears on one of these cards somewhere.

You can read much more about Mr. Elvgren at

and see some of the actual cards being modelled, at 
The women behind Gil Elvgrens pin-ups – Paul Hillery


Wednesday – MEL-200 [trade : UK] Melox “Happy Families” (A) ????. These lovely cards are un-numbered and show “families” of dogs, Mr, Mrs, Master and Miss. “Melox” was a brand of dog food issued by W.G. Clarke & Son (1929) Ltd; I’m not entirely certain that 1929 is the date of issue, as in the current British Trade Index, or whether someone just recorded the date on the box. In our original British Trade Index they are dated 1937-1939, but I think that is a bit late for the style. On the original box the cards are called “The Game of Happy MELOX Families”, but this information is not on the cards, so obviously when they were examined for cataloguing that set had no box, hence the set was given an (A) for adopted title. I think they are wonderful. However I now realise I missed a chance, as I could have had one of the Pekingese cards as Friday`s “Card of the Day”, continuing the alphabetical theme right to the end of the week. Miss Sealyham is my favourite though!

Murray, Sons & Co. (1915) ‘War Series, K’

Thursday –M970-270 [tobacco : UK] Murray Sons & Co. Ltd “War Series K” (A) (1915) Un/35 – though this is classed as an adopted title the back does say “Series K”. There is another theory that it was split into two sets as the first fifteen cards are personalities of the war and the last twenty show uniforms. In 1950 only 33 cards were known, I will try and investigate this, though I can already say they were uniforms as the 1950 handbook has 15 personalities and 18 uniforms. There is also a War Series “L” numbered from 100-124 which leaves a strange void, perhaps other sets are still to be discovered. It can be found printed in different hues as well, sepia, grey-brown or purple-brown. Murray were founded in 1810 and were based at the Whitehall Tobacco Works in Linfield Road Belfast N.I. 

added – just in the nick of time! The two new cards are “Bengal Lancers” and “Connaught Rangers – Service Uniform”, of course this has completely changed the former numbers given to the cards from this set 

Well time, as they say, marches on, and regretfully that must be all from me for another week –
Stay safe out there, and we will see you all here again next week; same time, same location 

And if you missed last week’s newsletter, fear not – its still available at …

Excellent in depth articles on all manner of cards appear in our magazine every month. 
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