Welcome to The Cartophilic Society

It is impossible here to pay tribute to every single one of those who have devoted their minds and their time to researching and to archiving cards, and have advanced the hobby to its current stage. And, remember, for most of that time there were no such things as computers or internet to help them !

Now this site is free for all to wander. It aims to tell the story of card collecting and of card collectors, without whom we would not be here. So please read on, about people like you, who started off by wanting to know more about cards, and in passing their discoveries on to their card collecting friends made the paths that we now follow.

So lets start with... 

Charles Lane Bagnall and his daughter Dorothy

So what is "Cartophilic" ?

Its probably the first thing you are wondering, after all. Well it is a permanent reminder of this man, Colonel Charles Lane Bagnall, who combined the French word “Carte” (meaning cards) and the Greek word “Philos” (enjoyment or appreciation) and gave card-lovers a proper name - plus a word for your next pub quiz.

As for those card-lovers themselves, well they are more correctly known as "Cartophilists". In fact our Society magazine used to be called "Cartophilic World", and then became “Cartophilic Notes and News”.

Whilst there is an amusing variant in a Pathe News Documentary, filmed in 1937, where we are called ‘Cartophilistines’.

How did it all start ?

The first cigarette dealer that we have found physical proof of was Mr. G. A. Johnson of Netherton, Wishaw, in North Lanarkshire, Scotland. He issued a four page sales list of cards for sale in 1916, and thrillingly it is "Number 6". So what happened to numbers 1 to 5, and when were they issued ? Does anyone reading know ?

There was quite a gap before Colonel Charles Lane Bagnall started the British Cigarette Card Company in 1927. This was almost immediately renamed, to "The London Cigarette Card Company", because there was already a "British Cigarette Card Company". Their first “catalogue of prices” was issued in 1929, and, a few years later, in 1933, they started a regular magazine for collectors called "Cigarette Card News". This is still issued today, though in the intervening years the company has relocated to Somerset, and changed the name of the magazine to “Card Collectors News”.

The first cigarette card club we have found so far is the "Dublin Cigarette Card Club", which began in 1933. Then, two years later, in 1935, The Cameric Cigarette Card Club, was started in London by two former school friends, Derek Campbell Burnett and Arthur Eric Cherry.

The Cartophilic Society was formed in 1938, and its inaugural meeting was held quite quickly, on the 15th of December of that year, at Anderton’s Hotel, 102-105 Fleet Street in London. The building has since been demolished, but an illustration was unearthed in order to illustrate our Jubilee commemorative card in 1988, the reverse of which says “... The pioneers who attended the meeting laid firm foundations which war and the discontinuance of cigarette cards could not displace". Today through its extensive publications and many branches we are still following the original objectives to “propagate, preserve, and enhance the hobby of cartophily”.

One of the pioneers at this meeting was Charles Glidden Osborne OBE, who would become our first President.