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 they made the paths that we now follow. And we hope that you will walk alongside us, and continue to pass them to generations yet to come, .once we have all passed over to the other side.
So lets start with...
This is the first thing you are probably wondering - what is this odd word ? Well for that we can thank Colonel Charles Lane Bagnall who combined the French word “Carte” (meaning cards) and the Greek word “Philos” (meaning enjoyment or appreciation) and gave us lovers of cards a name. Plus a word for your next pub quiz - and another, for people who enjoy collecting cards are called Cartophilists. This term seems to have fallen from popular use, but our Society magazine used to be called “Cartophilic Notes and News” - and before that it was "Cartophilic World". But 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 proof of was G. A. Johnson of Netherton, Wishaw, in North Lanarkshire, Scotland. He issued a four page list of cards for sale in 1916, but thrillingly it is Number 6. So that makes us wonder what happened to numbers 1 to 5 and when were they issued? Does anyone out there know?
There was quite a gap before Colonel Charles Lane Bagnall started the British Cigarette Card Company in 1927, almost immediately renamed The London Cigarette Card Company, because there was already a "British". Their first “catalogue of prices” was issued in 1929 and, in 1933, they started a regular magazine for collectors called "Cigarette Card News" which is still issued today, though the company has relocated to Somerset, and the magazine changed its name to “Card Collectors News”
The first cigarette card club we have found so far is the "Dublin Cigarette Card Club", which began in 1933. 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 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 the original objectives to “propagate, preserve, and enhance the hobby of cartophily” are still being followed successfully.” One of the pioneers at this meeting was Charles Glidden Osborne OBE, who would become our first President.