Card of the Day - 2023-04-16

churchman fishes of the world
W.A. & A.C. Churchman [tobacco : UK] "Fishes of the World" (September 1911) Un/50 - C504.250 : C82-18 : C/58 or C/59 (RB.10/58 or 59)

So your clue here was, for once, the picture on the front, the cod. For in the town`s records is a mention of a huge cod, some fifty-one inches long.

After a lot of searching I have found that our cod is called the Atlantic Cod and it can reach seventy-two inches, so the Kings Lynn Monster was not so large, just perhaps a bit off course, because the ones that are usually found close to our shores are about thirty inches, whereas the proper sea faring cod are usually the forty to fifty inch range. By the way they also live for fifteen years. 

The really curious thing about this Churchman set is that most of it was actually issued twice. The first time was as a set of 50 cards, and they were issued in September 1911. Then in May 1924, it was re-issued as a smaller set of just thirty cards,  these being selected from the original set as shown below - which is taken from our original vintage Churchman Reference Book.

fishes of the world checklist

As you can see, our cod appeared in both sets. However as the cards were totally un-numbered, not even saying they were "A set of ..... cards", there is absolutely no way to tell whether this fish was a 1911 card or a 1924 one. This is also reflected by my 1950 London Cigarette Card Company catalogue, in which the Churchman version was retailed in a very odd way, for whilst you could buy a set of 50 for £30, the odds were split - either “30 cards as re-issued 1924” which were priced at 2/- to 4/6d each, or “20 cards not re-issued” which were priced at for 10/- to 25/- each. This almost certainly proves that it was a straight re-printing and there was no way to tell the two sets apart other than the fish which were included. Another curious thing is that although the reprint was produced in 1924 it does not appear in their section two catalogue which covers 1920-1940, not even a cross-reference tag line; it is purely and only in the 1888-1919 one. 

That is possibly why by the time we printed our World Tobacco Issues Index the description for this set was "Sm. Unnd. (50) see RB.10/58 H.66. Partly re-issued (30 subjects) in 1924.) 

Before I dash on, did you note that the Churchman cards were printed by Mardon, Son and Hall? This makes it almost certain that the others were as well. Others? You may well say - because this set was also issued in slightly different forms by Imperial Tobacco Company of Canada and by John Player (which we featured as our card of the day on the the 2nd of August 2023). All have more or less this back design, with the exception of the issuer’s name, though the Churchman set is a two line ITC Clause rather than the John Player’s three, splitting after “Co.”; whilst the Canadian version has “ISSUED BY”, rather than “ARE ISSUED BY” in the box between the description and the issuer’s name, and the issuer’s name also in two lines (“IMPERIAL TOBACCO COMPANY / OF CANADA, LIMITED”). This is also followed by a serial number 6638, and by “Printed in England”.