The home of the Cartophilic Society of Great Britain

September 04

Welcome to our weekly end of the week chat! And its September already, the children are back at school, its getting dark earlier at night and getting light later in the mornings, and in those mornings I`m getting closer to the point when I will find my wellies in the cupboard rather than just trot down the lawn in bare feet. At the moment that is hazardous for another reason as it is plum season and you only know they are buried in the grass when you step on something cold and squelchy…

So what is going on this week, you may be wondering? Well do check our front page on a regular basis as this will contain the date of the next Branch or Club meeting or fair, plus details of any new issues, because these are starting up again. So next time you are shopping do take a notepad or your mobile phone and jot down any details for us. The most important are the brand that the cards etc are being issued with, and in which shop you saw them. That will be enough for other collectors to find them, though it would be useful for our thematic collectors to know the subject matter of the cards.  

But as to things you can celebrate, or ponder on this week, lets start with…


On the 4th of September 1807 Robert Fulton began operating his steamboat between New York and Albany. This statement appears in many places but it does not tell that steaming from New York to Albany, and back again, was a round trip of approximately three hundred miles, and he did it in sixty-two hours. Passengers were charged $14 for the round trip. Fulton as a keen inventor and an engineer, and seven years earlier he had produced an underwater craft, the “sub-marine” for Napoleon Bonaparte, which he called “Nautilus”. He also invented the torpedo. There is a set of twenty five very interesting cards which is recorded as USA/ T72 : A565-104 [tobacco : OS] American Tobacco “Hudson-Fulton Series” (1909), and they were issued for an event which combined the tri-centenary of the discovery of the Hudson River and also celebrated Robert Fulton who had tested his steamship on that river in 1807. You can see these lovely cards at :  Closer to home he appears in H554-140.2 [tobacco : UK] R & J Hill “Inventors and their Inventions Series” card 25, this being formed of two sets, numbered 1-20 and 21-40. There is a lot to say about this set, but briefly it was issued by several makers, firstly, before 1919 by Duncan and Hill, and after 1920 as an anonymous coloured or black and white issue, almost certainly by Hill, as well as named as being for Hill for three versions of thirty five cards, one large and two small which were branded “Spinet House” or “The Spotlight Tobacco”. These three also had a new title, “Scientific Inventions and Discoveries”. It was also issued by Murray as “Inventors” and Whitford as untitled. Whilst Teofani issued it anonymously overseas as “Great Inventors” and Bucktrout issued it in the Channel Islands as an untitled series. Finally it turned up as a trade set for Cave, Austin & Co Tea as “Inventors” and Sword & Co as an untitled set. A great subject for a display board, eh! Now this card tells us that its speed was five miles an hour, though perhaps the mathematicians amongst us have already worked that out from the figures above ? By the way, the New York Public Library System might only have this one cigarette card but has an enormous collection of Robert Fulton items, including the Gilbert H. Montague collection of his manuscripts, and a photograph of a woven badge worn on the first trip of the LaFayette. If you have time, do have a look at

By the way our card is a postcard, issued by Redfield at the actual celebrations….

W675-052 [tobacco : UK] W.D. & H.O. Wills “Cricketers” (1896)

On 5th September 1826 a cricketer was born who would change the cricketing world for ever. He played for three County teams, including that of his birth, Sussex, and took part in 187 matches, but this is not what we know him best for, as his name was John Wisden, and he wrote the first ever Wisden Cricketers Almanac in 1864, mainly as something to keep him occupied once he had retired from the game. And it is still going strong, though penned by different hands; it is also visible online at You can read more about Mr Wisden at Now whilst we were researching we came across a full run of Wisdens from 1864 to 2015, for sale on the open market in Lincolnshire. This is a very rare thing indeed, so the web address is’+almanack/
Cricket, like football, was featured from the beginnings of cartophily.

W675-050 [tobacco : UK] W.D. & H.O. Wills “Cricketers” (1901)

W.D. & H.O. Wills first issued W675-052 in 1896, this being a set of fifty un-numbered cards showing “Cricketers”, printed in Leizig by Meissner & Buch, and well researched as they showed the County and also followed the practise of that time by having the initials before or after the name, so marking whether the person pictured was an amateur or professional. In 1901 there was a second set of fifty cards, W675-050, also printed by Meissner & Buch of Leizig. These were again called “Cricketers” to start with, when they were reported by Mr C.H. Matthews, but on further examination they were titled so were changed to “Cricketer Series 1901”. They also carry the wording “WILLS `S CIGARETTES” on the fronts, are numbered, and make a good go at showing the club colours. They are also vari-backed, meaning that there is more than one brand shown over the full set; in fact there are six adverts (Best Birds Eye, Capstan Navy Cut, Gold Flake, Three Castles, Traveller, Westward Ho), though to date a particular cards only has a particular brand, you cannot collect the same numbered card showing a different brand.There is also an error, on card 33, where it says “Sommersetshire”.
Now the month of issue is not recorded for the 1896 nor the 1901 sets; however W675-109 “Cricketers 1908” were definitely in packets from May 1908, and this is the third set issued at home, though they had issued several sets in Australia which are recorded under W675-347, starting with “Cricketer Series” in 1901


6th September marks the anniversaries of two seafaring sagas.
In 1492 it saw Christopher Columbus setting out hopefully from the Canary Islands to attempt to be the first to cross the Atlantic Ocean. Which he did.  Columbus can be found on O100-534 [tobacco : UK] Ogden “Leaders of Men” (1924/25) 8/50, S548-180 [tobacco : UK] F & J Smith “Famous Explorers” (October 1911) 49/50, and W800-290 [tobacco : OS] A & M Wix South Africa “Max” brand “This Age of Power and Wonder” 229/250, as well as a more modern set issued by a familiar name to many of us, the Cecil Court Collectors Centre – you can see that at
But in 1522, it saw the long awaited, but sad return of “The Victoria” to Spain, being the only survivor of Magellan`s circumnavigation of the globe. He appears, like Columbus, in S548-180 [tobacco : UK] F & J Smith “Famous Explorers” (October 1911) but card 1/50, and on W800-290 [tobacco : OS] A & M Wix South Africa “Max” brand “This Age of Power and Wonder” but card 230/250


On 7th September 1838 we remember Grace Darling. And yes, she did really exist! She was the daughter of the Longstone Lighthouse keeper, off the coast of Northumberland, and when the alarm was sounded for nine people who were perilously marooned on a rock in stormy seas, she went with her father, in a tiny rowing boat. Thanks to this, the nine became the only survivors of the steamship Forfarshine, which had run aground and broken up. For her bravery the government gave her £50, a sum swelled to over a thousand by the general public who had read the story in the papers. I wish there was a better end, but just four years later (October 1842) she was struck down by tuberculosis and died. S111-175 [tobacco : UK] Nicolas Sarony “Celebrities and their Autographs” is unusual, not least because it says something I didn’t know, that being her signature was on show at the Wembley Exhibition of 1924/25, as part of the National Lifeboat Institution exhibit. By the way Brooke Bond “Discovering Our Coasts” (1989) 13/50 gives a slightly different variant of the story, it says “Seeing the wreck at dawn from her room in the lighthouse Grace and her father rowed…” 
The Victorians really took Grace Darling to their heart, and several postcards show small chubby flaxen haired children rowing boats with the heading “Grace Darling” though she was neither that young nor blonde. Reward cards also featured her as inspiration and an example that she had risked her life to save the lives of others. Just a quick look through the internet turned up a Rowntree chocolate tin,  and this site with lots of souvenirs


8th September is #StarTrekDay founded by Gene Roddenberry. Lets see how many Star Trek cards we can tweet or add to Facebook, and don’t forget to tag us in. 

We had a few requests to show things like wax wrappers, because there are a number of collectors out there. So we hope you like this one. Remember we can only show what we can locate, so if you want to supply something please contact us.
To see the first ever set, issued in 1967, go to – for oddities, head to  However if you want to see the whole spectrum of Star Trek Cartophilia, you wont find a much better site than to spend the day at! This lists all sets and also has trivia and facts on the Star Trek Universe. I have to say I am slightly too young for Star Trek, but I admire the show because it was pretty earth-shattering for the time in the make up of its cast, and not just putting people in as background to fulfil a quota. Many shows today fall short of that, including soap operas, which are supposed to represent our daily lives. 

KFC (1999) ‘Star Wars: Episode I’

9th September 1890, yes that long ago, was the birthday of Kentucky Fried Chicken, or more correctly of the man who created it. He would end his days by the name of Colonel Harland David Sanders, though the Colonel has nothing at all to do with the military, it was granted by the State of Kentucky. Now Colonel Sanders was not always a cook, he did several jobs, but when the Great Depression hit he was running a restaurant by a roadside in Kentucky. Now one day he started selling fried chicken, whether this was a good way to feed a lot of hungry people is not recorded, but it would have been. Now he also had a gimmick, which was a “secret recipe”, though actually it was not really a recipe, he just cooked the chicken in a different way using a kind of pressure cooker. He was also one of the first to allow other people to use his company name to create their own business, in effect the first franchise system. Now Kentucky Fried Chicken may no longer exist, for it is now KFC, but it does issue a lot of ephemeral items which are borderline cartophilic, and in 1999 it issued these twenty cards for Star Wars Episode 1, which I am sure you all know by now was the fourth film to be screened (hooray) and the first not to feature the three main stars from the first films (not so exciting, personally). Anyway often on the birthdays the restaurants have special offers and giveaways so do keep an eye on your local on that day. And if you get any cards, tell us….quickly, so we can get others to come along


10th September, 1908, was the birthday of Tala Birell. You may not have heard of her, and yet here she is as part of P521-444 [tobacco : UK] John Player “Film Stars” first series (March 1934) 6/50. The back of this card tells us that she was born in Rumania, of German and Polish parents, educated in Vienna, and started out by doubling for Marlene Dietrich in German films, A bit of digging uncovers that she was actually not her understudy, but her body double, though sadly it does not say the films she did that for. After that she came to England to film what is called “a German version of “Cape Forlorn”. Now the original of that had starred Fay Compton as a young woman with three men at a lighthouse in New Zealand, and actually it was directed by a German, E. A. Dupont, so it is more likely that the second version was for his home audience. It was not a great film, but it gained notoriety by being banned in New Zealand, and in Australia. Miss Birell then went to America to appear in “foreign versions of the talkies”, and “made her debut in English speaking films in “Nagana”, which was about a doctor hunting for a cure for sleeping sickness, as caused by the tsetse fly, though for some reason there was an action packed scene where Miss Birell was tied up and thrown to crocodiles. I have to say that none of this seems worthy of her being in the first series of this set, when other stars were not included, so she must have had some other pull. I will have to keep digging….

Now since this newsletter was published, we have had the offer of a scan of a card of the original Fay Compton version of “Cape Forlorn”. It featured on W.D. & H.O. Wills “Cinema Stars” third series (1931) 9/50 and it shows Fay Compton plus Ian Hunter. There is also a synopsis of the plot on the back. Watch this space! 

Now the cards of the day for this week have all been leading up to Thursday the 2nd of September when Royal Mail released their next commemorative postage stamps and miniature sheet – and it’s a great one, “British Army Vehicles”, mind you I did think/hope this would include a Land Rover, and it sadly doesn’t, which really missed a bit of an opportunity as there are many Land Rover drivers and enthusiasts who would have loved to emblazon their letter with their much loved Landy, but relatively few of us who own a tank.

PictureThis is a rather nice Landy card by the way, its from DEV-150 [trade : UK] Liam Devlin “Modern Transport” (1966) 20/50, I only just came across it the other day so it might be new to other fans too… I’m not sure how I missed it because the set was also issued by other trade issuers – Glengettie Tea, Home Counties Dairies, the Poster Stamp Association and Sweetule. Oddly both Glengettie and Home Counties issued it as two sets of twenty five, with the aircraft cards pulled out and being issued separately as a new “set” under the title of “International Air Liners”.

Anyway, remember the stamps? Well you can read about them at – and at –

Picture Not all the stamps, nor the miniature sheet are tanks, but let us start there. Now there are not too many sets of cigarette cards devoted to tanks, but there is one if we stretch to a cigar, and that was W675-269 [tobacco : UK] Wills Castella brand “The Tank Story” (1997) issued with Panatellas. This actually has a bit of a hidden secret for thematic collectors, which you only find out when you see the cards for yourself, as they are not pictures of actual vehicles but of plastic models, expertly constructed ones too, so if you collect model vehicles and don’t have this set look out for it – you can see some of the cards at and it also has a special album. You will find a checklist at Five of the stamps are similar to cards in this set, which we will let you work out for yourself.


Now you might be thinking what about W675-121 [tobacco : UK] Wills “Military Motors” set of 1916, surely there are lots of tanks in that? However there are not; the closest is the armoured car, which was simply a car, often a substantial vehicle like a Rolls Royce, that had been further reinforced by armour plating. In fact Rolls Royce engines were used for tanks, see The thing that strikes me most about that set is how many of the vehicles show they were plucked from normal life, given a quick make over, and expected to fight, but I suppose that could also be said about most of the conscripted men. Why the tank does not appear is by a stroke of extremely bad luck, as the set was offered to the Press Bureau for checking, who passed it as ok to issue on the 21st of September 1916, and the set was issued in October 1916. In the meantime, on the 15th of September 1916, the first tanks had gone into action on the Somme, at the Battle of Flers-Courcelette. But read on for more about that, and those…. and let us go forward too,

into the Cards of the Day from this week….


Saturday 28 August – [trade : UK] Memory Lane “Soccer Memories” (2002) Un/? – I couldn’t find anything out about this set though I was told it was a commercial issue rather than a giveaway with a product. You can see a few of the cards at Anyway the clue here was AJAX, as the £1.70 stamp showed the AJAX Armoured fighting vehicle, and Johann Cruyff started his career with Ajax Amsterdam on his tenth birthday when he joined the junior squad; for some reason it looks like he is the only overseas player to be featured on the cards. Anyway do let us know if you can shed even the smallest light on this set or its issuer as it deserves to be more heard of. Now the AJAX is the only tank not included in the Castella set, and that is because it is not strictly a tank – its an AFV. Sadly its also an AFV with a rather chequered story and it has been more in the news for its faults and failings than for anything else; even putting AJAX AFV in a search engine brings up a litany of complaints. By the way, the mention of “Scout” immediately brings to mind those small and amazingly manoeuverable vehicles like the Ferret and the Dingo, which any of our readers in the Forces will probably remember rather fondly. There was one at an auction once, and I was very tempted, what great fun it would have been parking it at the supermarket and climbing out ….


Sunday 29 August – M757-220 [tobacco : UK] Stephen Mitchell “Arms & Armour” (July 1916) 3/50 – this was for another £1.70 stamp, that of the Chieftain Mark 5, and if you look on the reverse of this card the title is not the same as the front, it says “A British Chieftain”. And if you have this card but yours does not say Mitchell, don’t worry for this set has several different issuers, these being Hignett, John Player (1909) Wills “United Service” brand, with the cigarette packet image on the reverse, what a shame there wasn’t a card sticking out.


Monday 30 August – SHE-110 / SHO-7 [trade : UK] Shell “Great Britons” prints (1972) Un/20 these were issued at Shell Petrol Stations, in sealed envelopes, you got one free when you drove in. There was a choice of either a free storage wallet or an album which cost 30p. Sir Arthur Bryant wrote the biographies, you can read more about him at A list of the subjects appears in our current British Trade Handbook under HS-34, where it tells us there were two Churchills in the set, this card and John Churchill, 1st Duke of Marlborough, an ancestor. This is a tie in for one of the standard first class stamps, which shows the Churchill Tank, first used in 1944.


Tuesday 31 August – G075-530 [tobacco : UK] Gallaher Ltd “Army Badges” (January 1939) 33/48. These cards are very well researched, and one of the few to mention the interesting point is that though the top left ribbon is for Flers, the Royal Tank Corps did not exist when they fought there, for at that time the men were part of the Heavy Branch Machine Gun Corps, and their emblem was the standard Machine Gun Corps one with the crossed Vickers Guns; in fact historians of military graves will point out that early headstones carry this emblem too, and that it was only after July 1917, when they were renamed the Tank Corps, that the graves started to carry the tank emblem shown on this card. They have had a few name changes, as in 1923 they became the Royal Tank Corps (this is also mentioned on the Gallaher card) and in 1939 it became the Royal Tank Regiment.


Wednesday 1 September – W6756-103 [tobacco : UK] W.D. & H.O.Wills “Britains Part in the War” (September 1917) 21/24 This is the first cigarette card to actually show a tank, at least as far as I have discovered. This set was “passed for publication by the Press Bureau” on the 21st of April 1917, and it does refer back to the first engagement by speaking of “that fateful morning when the news reached us that our newly invented tanks had broken through the startled ranks of the German Infantry….” The odd thing about this is that the Press Bureau had either grown slower or this set was delayed for another reason – as if you go back to “Military Motors” that was passed as ok to issue on the 21st of September 1916, and issued in October 1916, less than a month after, yet somehow five months elapsed between the passing and the issuing of this set in 1917.


Before this turns into our version of the Tank Story lets go find that miniature sheet. One of the first class stamps on that shows the Wildcat Reconnaisance Helicopter, and as the name suggests, it is actually an updated version of the Lynx. Now I have not been able to find that on a trade card but it is on a playing card, namely :—helicopters-2008-ace-trumps-card The helicopter was, of course, first drawn by Leonardo da Vinci but the earliest cigarette card of a helicopter I know is our card, W675-100A [tobacco : UK] W.D. & H.O. Wills “Aviation” (January 1910) 49/50, it’s the Rickman Helicopter and it was built in America; the reverse includes the fact that “To date (December 1909), no great results have been achieved, but … the small flying machine of the future is possibly likely to resemble this.” Now look again at the given issue date of this set, and these come from Wills own records, so once more there was not much delay between writing the text and circulating the cards.
Anyway we have found a most interesting website about aviation and it includes this helicopter at
For more up to date “choppers” check out W675-259A [tobacco : UK] Wills’s Castella brand “British Aviation” (1994) which has two of them – the Bristol Sycamore as 25/30, and the Westland Sea King as 26/30 – and the Sea King is also on one of the beer mats they issued, which are recorded as W675-259B


As we failed to find any of the other vehicles off the miniature sheet we went for the Royal Engineers Crest as our final card, simply because they are mentioned on the Churchill Tank AVRE (Armoured Vehicle Royal Engineers) and the £1.70 stamp of the Trojan AVRE.
Also it is good to feature a silk again – this is P521-790 [tobacco : UK] Godfrey Phillips B.D.V. “Crests & Badges of the British Army” untitled (1914) 38/108. On which note we have the update of our silk book to download. Watch the front page for news of that. Now returning to the Royal Engineers you can visit their museum online at, and it is well worth a visit.

Sadly though, our visiting time has come to an end for this week. Don’t forget that if you enjoy reading our website, there is lots more, on all sorts of cards, in our bi-monthly printed card collecting magazine, but you can’t buy that on a news-stand, it’s only available from us on subscription. Read more about membership, and the associated benefits, at   – remember to watch for news of the return of your branch or club, at   – if you missed last week`s newsletter, read it at

and dont forget to come back next week….! 

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