The home of the Cartophilic Society of Great Britain

The Marquis of Lorne

Hard to believe that it is almost 150 years ago that the Marquis of Lorne appeared in a cigarette packet.

So who is he, and why is he our card of the day during our Convention weekend?

Lets start at the beginning, in 1871, when John George Edward Henry Douglas Sutherland Campbell, Marquis of Lorne married Princess Louise, daughter of Queen Victoria. It was a short engagement, under six months. Just seven years later he was selected by Benjamin Disraeli to become the fourth Governor General of Canada. And the following year he was immortalised on this plain backed card, for Marquis of Lorne Cigarettes.

In fact, although it is still known as The Marquis of Lorne card, and appears under “M” in our World Tobacco Issues Index, it was actually issued by Thos. H Hall of New York.

It appears the brand did not sell well, but the fact that the packets contained the card was the thing of vital importance, because before that, the card was given to the smoker over the counter when they bought their cigarettes.

And that created the cigarette card as we knew it.

There was one basic difference though – the size of future cards were reduced to make it easier to free them from the packet, and less likely to be creased, because if the card was ruined in extraction, it was discarded, it lost its collectable value.

However it is entirely because the cigarettes did not sell well, and that the cards were so hard to release from their entombment, that this card is so scarce and so sought after today.

The belief is that just four exist. One was owned by Edward Wharton-Tigar, shown here, one of our former Presidents and it is now in the British Museum – one by Jefferson Burdick, American collector extraordinaire who did write the rule book of American Card Collecting, his card is now in the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York – and two are out there in private collections, locations unknown.

This is not surprising as one of those cards cost its new owner over $15,000 in 2009, and it has residue on the reverse from being removed from an album….

And now to why we feature this card today, because our card is not by Thos. H Hall. You can see the original at where it is immediately noticeable that it has a white border, and that in this case the right hand edge has been trimmed.

The card without the white borders, featured as our Card of the Day, was actually issued by us, and it has a printed back as shown below


However, there is an additional question, because look at the top; in light red ink is stamped A.G.M. 1989. The story is that these cards were first issued at our Golden Jubilee Exhibition luncheon at the Barbican in October 1988, but some were not given out, but were hand-stamped and given away at the A.G.M. the following year, which was in Peterborough – so do you know any more about that and can tell the complete tale? if so tell us at

And what of the Marquis of Lorne? Well he took his wife to Canada, but she was not very happy there; she also suffered a serious accident on a sleighing trip during which she suffered severe concussion from being thrown against the roof and dragged along beneath the upturned sleigh, where she remained trapped for some time. She came home to England in 1881, two years before her husband. They then moved into Kensington Palace, but there were rumours of infidelities on both sides, and they pretty much lived separate lives until he fell ill towards the end of his life, when they grew very close again. He died in 1914. After that she was often ill, and she frequently complained of being lonely. Poignantly, when she died in 1939, she was wearing her wedding veil.

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