Greetings to all our readers, and we hope that you will take the time to pop along to your nearest branch or club meeting to celebrate their return, at last. We now have a dedicated page for all these dates at https://card-world.co.uk/dates-for-your-diary/ so do keep checking in. Next up is Hants and Surrey Borders Branch, and that is this coming Sunday, yes tomorrow! If you are anywhere near, or fancy taking a spin over, please do… and if you go, do send us a report so that anyone who didn’t make it will try that bit harder to get there next time.
So let’s rocket on to the events that you can think about, and maybe even add into your schedule to celebrate next week. And first of these is …
Saturday 7th April
Saturday August 7 will be Sea Serpent Day, and it all stems from an actual occurrence on August 7, 1848, and one which is hard to disprove as the serpent was seen by most of the crew and officers who were on board HMS Daedalus en route to Saint Helena. Contemporary reports vary but most agree it had a long neck, and rough estimates at the time set the measurements at about sixty feet in entirety. And thrillingly you can see it on our card – Hignett Bros & Co (also issued by Ogdens) “Sea Adventure” (1939) 29/50
Now there were several vessels carrying the plate of HMS Daedalus, starting with the first, in 1780. Ours was the fifth one, launched in 1826. At the time of the sighting, she was a shadow of her former self and had been reduced in armament by the tune of twenty-six guns. She would further fall from war readiness and eventually be used as a Royal Naval Reserve drill ship, though she lasted right to 1911. There was also a further incarnation and one planned but never built; in addition there were three land based HMS Daedaluses, two were connected to RNAS Lee-on-Solent which was used in both World Wars and only closed in the late 1990s and the other was a Second World War roaming station with no fixed abode, primarily used as a seaplane base and educational establishment. It is not clear why Daedalus, the Greek mythical figure, was so popular, or so connected to the Navy, as he is most known for being the father of Icarus, the one who flew too close to the sun and perished in the ocean below, hardly a good analogy for a sea vessel. He did build the labyrinth for King Minos, and various wooden structures, but he also built his son`s wings, though to be fair these might well have worked if Icarus had kept further away from the sun, for it was only the wax holding the wings together that melted, not a structural fault. Wills’s Wonders of the Sea (November 1928) No. 4 is the earliest sea serpent we could find, it shows a Yellow Bellied Sea Snake, whilst on the trade card front Brooke Bond “Unexplained Mysteries” contains three cards, numbers 9, 10 and 11 – 9/40 being the Loch Ness Monster, probably our most famous home grown sea serpent.
Sunday 8th August
On August 8 1908 the Wright Brothers aircraft was on show at a racecourse in Le Mans France, and successfully flew again, albeit for under two minutes. This was five years after their initial flight, but the first time a large audience had a chance to look at them and their craft up close. For it is one thing to read about events in the papers, but another to experience the thrill of it for yourself, and many of the youngsters there would have gone home dreaming of their own first flights. Some of them would be successful, and in less than six years the First World War would prove that the aircraft was a valuable weapon of observation, escape, and sadly slaughter. The Wright Brothers appear on numerous aviation sets including card 35 of Wills “Aviation” (1910), and, oddly, card 35 of Brooke Bond “Transport Through The Ages” (1966). But the one I have selected is number one of Amalgamated Tobacco “Into Space”, a really thought provoking card, as in a basic way it was this first flight that lit the spark which eventually resulted in mankind visiting space. And it is fitting that they are included on the NASA website at:
Monday 9th August
On August 9 1930, a cartoon by Max Fleischer was released. Called “Dizzy Dishes”, it was a simple story about a nightclub, with the clientele and staff modelled on animals. One of the head staff was a dog called Bimbo, and one of the customers was a gorilla with a French Poodle dog girlfriend who Bimbo fell for in a big way. The cartoon was funny, but the girlfriend became an instant hit, and eventually would become a star, but first she had to have her ears trimmed into earrings, her collar changed into a garter, her rounded body made curvy and less hairy, and her face humanised. And after all her cosmetic surgery, she was Betty Boop. Popular until the start of the Second World War, she was almost forgotten, until in the 1970s she suddenly reappeared with a bang. The best site, and it even includes the original cartoon to watch, is https://bettyboop.fandom.com/wiki/Betty_Boop Our card dates from 1997, and if you look on the box, there is Bimbo, who may no longer be the star of the show, but is forever immortalised with the object of his desire. And who could ask for more.
Tuesday 10th August
August 10 is World Lion Day, which was started by an organisation called Big Cat Rescue to highlight the importance of the lion, to raise awareness of this magnificent creature worldwide, and to put in place efforts for saving the species. And now, off on a tangent, because our lion, a rather stylised Art Deco version, was the symbol of the 1924 and 1925 British Empire Exhibition at Wembley in North West London. Now you may be wondering what this has to do with cards, and the answer is not just the cigarette card sets which were issued to commemorate the exhibition by Pattreiouex and Churchman, nor the trade sets by Barratt and Poppleton, nor even the many thousands of postcards, but our intriguing illustration. This is definitely the Wembley Lion designed by R.C. Herrick, see https://www.twentiethcenturyposters.com/products/british-empire-exhibition-wembley-1 but what it is doing on this packet and also on a paper label which went round the box, I have never been able to find out. The only suggestion that makes any sense is that these were first fixed to packets sold within the exhibition and then continued into general usage, maybe to use the remainders up. I would be interested to hear from anyone who knows more….
Wednesday 11th August
August 11 1948 was the opening of the first Olympic Games for ten years; the last to actually take place had been in 1938, in Berlin. The 1948 Olympics had taken place in London, and they were the first to be televised. Sadly they were too late for cigarette cards, though Carreras “Turf” slides covered the games with a set of fifty cards. Another contemporary set was Kiddy’s Favourites of Glasgow, with their set of “Popular Olympics”. Later on in 1979 Brooke Bond “Olympic Greats” starts with card one of Fanny Blankers-Koen, described as “A 30-year-old Dutch housewife” though it does eventually say that she was also the first female to win four gold medals at a single Olympics.
Our card shows an original poster for the 1948 Olympics, which was one of those reproduced by Mars Confectionery in 1991/1992 when they were official Olympic sponsors and suppliers of foodstuffs for the competitors and officials. And to read more about the events and personalities, check out https://olympics.com/en/olympic-games/london-1948 which has tons of facts, images, and stats.
Thursday 12th August
August 12 is National Vinyl Record Day. So let’s talk about Kane of East Grinstead in Surrey, whose “Disc Stars” (1959) was one of the first sets to cater to the new teenage music loving market, even though many of the stars were hardly youngsters – Winifred Attwell, Max Bygraves, Pearl Carr and Mantovani to name just a few. However there are some unusual subjects in here, which probably slip through the net of film and television star loving thematic collectors. For example card 9 shows Elvis Presley. And card 16 is Buddy Holly and The Crickets, and ends with “killed in air crash”; this had been very recently, on February 3 1959. Then card 27 is Eddie Fisher, husband of Debbie Reynolds and Elizabeth Taylor, and also the father of Carrie Fisher, best known for the Star Wars films. Whilst card 46 is Michael Holliday, whose record “Starry Eyed” was the first number one of the 1960s, and who also became a television star with his own series but fame, family and children did not bring him happiness, and he fatally overdosed on sleeping tablets on the 30th of October 1963. You can see all the cards at https://imageevent.com/halpen/1959kanediscstars
Friday 13th August
So let’s leave this week with a sinister trio for Friday August 13; firstly it is International Lefthanders Day http://www.lefthandersday.com/ and the Latin for the left hand side is “sinistra” from where the root probably arises, left handedness being seen as a bit odd and unsettling and only suitable in the olden days for being forcibly altered by making the poor child write with their right hand (even if they continued to favour using the left hand for everything else).
And then we have the association with Triskaiedekaphobia – http://triskaidekaphobia.info/ If that were not enough, the 13th of August 1899 was the birth day of Alfred Hitchcock. There is the most fascinating article on him, and left handedness at https://www2.bfi.org.uk/news-opinion/sight-sound-magazine/features/left-handed-cinema Now if you too are left handed and haven’t yet discovered https://www.anythinglefthanded.co.uk/ do visit virtually. You will almost find yourself saying, “ah, so that’s why I cant manage x y or z !!” before you have gone too far down their stocklist. I always thought I couldn’t use a computer mouse because I was dyslexic, but now I realise it is because they were actually made for right-handed folk. Now Alfred Hitchcock does not appear on a cigarette card as far as I know, though he is featured on those “Nostalgia” postcards, but several of his posters appear on the Sporting Profiles set of “Movie Idols” including our card, no.22 of 30 (I`m not a great Hitchcock film fan, but I like this one) and you will find his 1935 version of The 39 Steps starring Robert Donat and Madeleine Carroll on Gallaher “Film Partners” (1935) 8/48, though he is not mentioned on the card at all.
Now there was a bit of the second issue of the “Cigarette Card News” magazine that I left out last time. This was the continuation of the Faulkner catalogue, namely cards issued after 1900. Included are several sets that were issued some years after this, and were printed by Mardon, Son & Hall, and a really fascinating fact that is not repeated in our Cartophilic Reference Book No.1, first printed in 1942, that being that the first set of “Prominent Racehorses of the Present Day”, issued in January 1923, were printed “from originals specially painted for Messrs. Faulkner”. Now this may just be referring to the standard artist drawn “artwork” from which all cards originated, but I don’t think so, especially as it does not say this phrase anywhere else in the LCCC listing. So is there anyone out there who can tell us more about this, and whether the second series were also from originals? By the way, my copy of the Cartophilic Reference Book No.1 is rather used, but it is the more expensive type with interleaving, in other words a blank page for notes appears in between each printed page. And it’s also number eleven of a limited edition of four hundred. Now number one of each of these original booklets went to our Society Library, but I have to wonder, and to ask, whether there anyone out there has an earlier number? If so, let us know…
So on to the next magazine in my pile. That’s “Cigarette Card News” No. 4 Vol. 1 January 1934, and its says that the issue would be with the readers on or before Christmas Day. Pity the posties that had to work on Christmas Day then, like our card C560-480 [tobacco : UK] Wm Clarke & Son “Royal Mail” 21/50.
Mr. Porter continued with his “Notes on Current Series”, and after the grumbles from last time about the current sets having been in circulation for some time. In this edition there was actual new series; John Player “Characters From Fiction” from drawings by H.M. Brock, issued at the end of October; “Freshwater Fishes”, which started to appear on November 22nd. The text states that “The cards have adhesive backs, for gumming into special albums, which can be obtained free. This idea seems to have been borrowed from Germany….” So was this the first ever sticky back? It seems that it was, unless you know different; Hignett “A.F.C. Nicknames” which was thought to be “decidedly attractive” though it was “a pity that owing to the local and restricted nature of the issue, it is never likely to be available in quantity at a popular price”. Anyone out there like to explain this to me…? ; Typhoo Tea “Wonder Cities of the World”, oblong cards with sepia views (which do not come readily to my mind in picture form); Goddard “Collection of Old Silver at the Victoria and Albert Museum! A series of nine cards, Mr. Porter admits that he was “not sure of the correct title, which is not printed.” Very curious that! – and Wills “Homeland Events” which he admitted was not really a new issue, but up to now there had been few about, well now there were reportedly “ample supplies” (I guess this means at and via the LCCC) And lastly there was La Cigarette Orientale de Belgique S.A. “Famous Men throughout the Ages”, a foreign series of 100 large cards, bilingual (French and Flemish), a set which is totally new to me.
The issue also contained a discussion on Ogdens “Guinea Gold” and “Tabs” cards, By C.H.M. (Charles H Matthews) He tells that his first Guinea Gold was acquired “35 years ago”, it was Lily Hanbury, and it started him thinking about cigarette card collecting, though it was not for another ten years that he started to collect. And as for the special offer sets, these were: Typhoo “Common Objects Highly Magnified” reduced to 1/6d (from 3/-) Wills “Homeland Events” 1/- (from 1/3d) – they could also offer sets of “Cathedrals” at 9d., Wills “Garden Flowers” at 1/3d., Ogden “Smugglers & Smuggling” at 10.1/2d and “Australia” at 2/- plus the “Famous Men throughout the Ages” at 3/6d a set. The promised John Player foundation of a standard catalogue also appeared, this gives month and year dates for all 1920 to 1933 (supplied by Player themselves) along with the number of cards in each set and the current catalogue price. This was a huge undertaking. And lastly, the new style competition – which simply asked for “The Two best Suggestions for additional features in “The Cigarette Card News” in less than 150 words. That closed the Christmas issue.
Well, sadly, we have again reached closing time – or, more correctly, exceeded it – so that will have to be it for another 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. You can’t buy that on a news-stand, it’s only available from us on subscription. So to read more about membership, and the associated benefits, please see our membership page.
And if you missed last week’s newsletter, for whatever reason, fear not – it’s still uploaded at https://card-world.co.uk/newsletter/july-31/.