Card of the Day - 2023-01-16

Churchman "Lawn Tennis"
W.A. & A.C. Churchman [tobacco : UK] "Lawn Tennis" (September 1928) - C504-570A : C82-63A : C/89 : RB.10/89

Our clue was that the player shown here as H.W. Austinwas actually christened Henry Wilfred, and Wilfred was a very popular rabbit in the Daily Mirror, hence the nickname of "Bunny". 

As our card says, he was plagued by ill health. It was only discovered during a medical in 1943 that he had Gilbert’s Syndrome, which affected his liver and often resulted in  jaundice. He was therefore unfit for War Service.

The card also mentions his sister, Miss Joan Austin, who became Mrs. R. Lycett and appears on Gallaher "Lawn Tennis Celebrities" as card 50/50

As far as the card this is a very interesting story. Our original Churchman Reference Booklet RB.10, which was printed in 1948, gives the date of issue and describes it as

"50 LAWN TENNIS (titled) Size 67 x 36 m/m. Numbered 1-50. Fronts printed by letterpress, halftones in two printings in sepia. Backs in dark green with descriptions. Printed by Mardon, Son and Hall. Also issued by John Player (overseas)." 

A couple of years later the Churchman version appears in the London Cigarette Card Company 1950 catalogue as 3d each for odd cards and 17/6 a set. The Player does not, for it catalogued British cards only.

That overseas version is actually in our original John Player Reference Book. RB.17/120 (or P/120). It says that it is

"50 LAWN TENNIS small cards. Fronts in sepia. Backs in grey, with descriptive text. Overseas Issue. August 1928. Similar series issued by Churchman".

The last line is interesting as it shows the Player version was actually issued a month before the Churchman.

Our original World Tobacco Issues Index tells us a bit more about it, that it has no ITC clause, and that it was issued chiefly in New Zealand, Malaya and Siam. 

Now if you go back and look closely at the Churchman Reference Booklet, RB.10/90, which directly follows our set, is also Lawn Tennis, but this is a set of only twelve cards, in a larger size, of 80 x 62 m/m.  I have not yet found out which twelve appear yet, but once I do they will be listed here. The odd thing is, however, that the twelve were not selected from our set, as it may appear to you, and it did to me. Also this larger sized set was actually issued in July 1928, two months before the small size cards and one month before the John Player overseas version.

We featured the large version of our set as the card of the day on the 28th of June 2022