Started off well, but that did not last, anyway I like the chaos of things! And it is kind of expected as we near Christmas Day, which is but eight days away. Hope you have everything you need!
Ardath [tobacco : UK] "Film, Stage & Radio Stars" - large (June 1935) 6/25 - A745-400 : A72-29
Today we celebrate Sir Noel Peirce Coward, who was born today in 1899, and whom, at last, I have managed to add to our gallery after many attempts, and failures, for the backs are very light indeed and almost non-existent on scans.
He made his debut on the stage at the age of eleven, but always wanted to write more than perform; his first plays were written in his teens as well. He found a lot of his source material from the parties he attended and the people he met there, and, in those days, the general public were both attracted, and impressed, by what the upper classes got up to. I am not so sure this still holds true today. He wrote short and often pithy stories too, and was also a very witty song-writer and lyricist, writing many hundreds of songs. He acted. He directed, plays and films. And he also wrote his autobiography, which ran to three volumes.
Yet for all this, our card appears to be his only cartophilic appearance. What is even odder is that Ardath issued two sets by this name in 1935, ours, and a small sized set, a few months later, in September, but he was not included in the other, despite the fact that the small sized set was of fifty cards, so there was scope to leave him in.
Anyway the set is catalogued in our original reference booklet - RB.10, published in 1943 - devoted to the issues of Ardath Tobacco Co., Ltd, as :
June.1935. 25. FILM, STAGE, AND RADIO STARS (titled series). Size 2 11/16" x 3 3/4". Numbered 1-25. Printed in two colours from half tone blocks, titled, white margins, varnished. Backs printed in dark grey with descriptions. Issued with 25`s and larger packings of Ardath Cork and State Express at home and abroad.
No. 3 Becke, Eve (WALLACE BEERY)
4. Claudette Colbert (ELISABETH BERGNER)
6. Noel Coward (JACK BUCHANAN)
7. Dietrich, Marlene (EDDIE CANTOR)
22. Waters, Elsie & Doris (JEAN HARLOW)
are not included in the set of small cards, all the rest of the subjects are, but different pictures and descriptions.
By the way, to save you hunting, I have added the replacement cards in capitals above. They are not in the reference book.
Now by the time of our World Tobacco Issues Indexes this is mostly removed, and all that appears is simply : "FILM, STAGE & RADIO STARS. Lg. Nd. (25)."
Burstein, Isaacs & Co. Ltd [tobacco : UK] "Famous Prize-fighters" (1923) 34/50 - B927-300.B : B164.1.B
A centenary next, for today, in 1923, this man Johnny Dundee, regained his World Junior Lightweight Championship. Actually his name was not Johnny Dundee at all; his forename was Guiseppe, and his surname is quoted differently almost every time, Carrori, Currori, Curreri, etc. Furthermore, it tells us on the reverse of this card that he was born in Sharkai, Italy. After much hunting I failed to find Sharkai, and now know that even Italy is rather a generalisation as he was actually born in Sciacca, in Sicily, in 1893, where his father was a fisherman.
Then in 1909 the family moved to America, to New York, and his father stayed with what he knew, opening a fishmongers shop, in Manhattan. Perhaps he did not like the business, or maybe money was tight, but, in the next year, Guiseppe started boxing. And very quickly he changed his name, on the suggestion of his manager, Scotty Montieth, , who came from Dundee in Scotland.
Our man retired in 1932, after almost three hundred and fifty matches, from which won ninety and was only knocked out twice.
He first fought John Patrick Kilbane in 1913, losing. Kilbane was older, he had been born in 1889, and he would hold the World Featherweight title from 1912 to 1923, only losing it, eventually to our man, who was also the Junior Lightweight Championship in 1921, and the next year, as recorded on our card, he knocked out Danny Frush to make himself the Featherweight Champion of the World too. However by then he had lost the Lightweight title. He got that back in 1923, the year our card dates from, which allows it to correctly record that he owns both titles.
However he lost the Lightweight again in 1924, swiftly followed by the Featherweight. He kept fighting, and always had a hankering to regain his title, or titles. In 1927 he fought the current Featherweight champion Tony Canzoneri but lost. And in 1932 he decided to finally retire.
However he lived until 1965, so there is more of this story, somewhere, to tell.
Our World Tobacco Issues Indexes tell us that Burstein, Isaacs & Co. was founded in 1896, but only ever used abbreviations of their name on cards, either "B.I. & Co., Ltd." as here, or "The Bi-CO Company. And they only issued two sets, this, and the earlier "London View Series", of January 1922, which , our "Directory of British Cigarette Card Issuers", RB.7, tells us was actually the first set of cards to be issued after the First World War by an independent manufacturer.
All sets were issued by via "Empress Cigarettes".
Then, in 1935, they were taken over by R. S. Challis & Co. Ltd.
Now this set is found in two printings, catalogued as :
FAMOUS PRIZE FIGHTERS. Sm. 63 x 38. Black and white. Nd. (50)
A. Caption on front in upper and lower case lettering
B. Caption on front in small capitals.
Priory Tea [trade : tea : UK] "Men at Work" (1959) 7/24 - PRI-640 : PTT-7
And following quickly along we have our second centenary card of this week, because today, in 1923, the bulldozer was patented by two men, James Cummings and J.Earl Mcleod, in Kansas. Originally it was for farm use, and was horse drawn.
However, as the card says, although bulldozer has been the word of choice for most of us, it is not their only name - and the card even quotes "Calf, Mule, and Bull". They are also known as crawlers, or caterpillars, or even shortened to dozer alone. Now the calfdozer is long forgotten to most of us, but thanks to earthmover magazine (bet you never heard of that one!) we can share its story with you. As for "Caterpillar", well that is actually a brand name, which has been in existence since 1910. But as for the muledozer, I have no idea, except that it was produced as a diecast model by none other that William Britains!
There is also something else you may not realise, and that is that to be a bulldozer it has to have a blade at the front for pushing - in fact if you look at the patent the "bulldozer" referred only to the blade attachment, not the vehicle it was attached to.
Furthermore, if it lifts and carries it is not a bulldozer, it is a loader. And finally tyres are now more often seen, whereas originally such vehicles only utilized only tank tracks.
This set is one of thirteen that was issued by Priory Tea & Coffee Co. Ltd,., of London S.E.1, in a crafty little tie up with the I-Spy series of spotters books and also the News Chronicle and Daily Dispatch newspapers who ran an I-Spy Column every day. Their first set was "Series 1 - Out and About", which was issued in 1957, along with sets two to four, these being on "Pets", "People in Uniform", and Dogs". All of the first eight series contained twenty four cards. Then series 9 through 13, which started in 1960, were all sets of fifty cards.
I cannot believe we have never featured any of these before, so I look forward to sharing them all with you in the very near future!
By the way, I say "Series 1 - 13" but the series numbers did not appear on the cards, only in the album. And on the cards it tells us that each album takes two sets - though I wondered if this was altered for the sets of fifty. In fact the updated British Trade Index supplies us with the fact that you could get one album to hold all thirteen sets together, or albums to take one 50 or two 24 size sets for 6d per album. And it also gives me the dates.
Both our final original British Trade Index, part IV, and our updated version also mention that there was a final "End of Series" card, wording only, asking "Are your sets of cards complete?" so it must have been a last chance saloon to get those missing odds out of the stock or remainders that Priory Tea still held. And there is also another issue, a "Bingo Slogan Competition", printed by letterpress in black only - of which eighteen cards have been seen so far.
Even more interestingly, our updated version also mentions an advertisement card of 1910 - though a quick look into the Priory Tea story online reveals that they were only incorporated in May 1932 - and that they are now dissolved.
Strictly Ink Productions [trade/commercial : cards : UK] "The Professionals" - Promos (2005) P3/9
This was almost another subject, but I persevered, because it, too, is a centenary! And then, a miracle, for at the last moment I found a card of Gordon Jackson, whose birthday was today in 1923. And so he stayed.
He was born Gordon Cameron Jackson, in Glasgow, one of five children. He was acting, on the radio, as a youngster, but left school and joined Rolls Royce, as a draughtsman and trainee designer.
Then in 1942 he was scouted, because he was Scottish, for a film being made by Ealing Studios - that was "The Foreman went to France" with Tommy Trinder. However after filming was over he went back to work, and thought that was all over - until he was once more asked to take a film role, and left the drawing board behind forever.
Many films followed, including "The Great Escape", but it was television that made him a household name, through the long running series "Upstairs, Downstairs", where he played Mr. Hudson, the Butler.
However he only appears in one other set to my knowledge, this being a set of "Channel Hopper" quiz cards issued in 1985 by TV Times Magazine. However these are not strictly Cartophilic, for they were produced by Milton Bradley and are part of a game, which I have yet to track down. But in the interests of information, they deserve a mention.
Now I originally said "There are nine of these promo cards, and their purpose was like a teaser, to advertise the forthcoming set, which is described so effusively on the back, with hints of many rare and unseen behind the scenes shots from the 1970s series, and competition cards. However I cannot find that the set was ever issued."
In response to this, keen reader John Levitt has emailed in straight away with the information that these are not strictly promo cards but preview cards, this being card no 3 of a 9 card preview set. In fact Strictly Ink issued only two proper promo cards for this set, which were numbered PR1 & PR2, though they did, confusingly, have the same backs as these preview cards.
He also enclosed a scan of page 112 from the 2008 issue of the Promo Card Encyclopedia by Todd Jordan, which gives information about The Professionals promo cards and provides confirmation that the set they were promoting, which would have retailed for £19.99, was unfortunately cancelled before it went to print. However it also tells us that some cards intended for the set were re-used, and issued in Strictly Ink's 2008 Yearset issue, but none of those cards featured Gordon Jackson.
Ogdens Ltd [tobacco : UK] "Dominoes" - untitled (1909) Un/55 - O/100-420 : O/2-98 : O/76 : RB.115/76
Midweek, getting near to Christmas, so let us get this party started with a quick nod to Games Day, which is today. And we thought we would share with you this super set of Dominoes, which I have not featured before, though we have had other dominoes in our past, including :
Carreras - Playing Cards & Dominoes - untitled (May 1929) - 26 June 2022 - https://csgb.co.uk/cardoftheday/2022-06-26
Walkers - Dominoes" Old Monk brand (1908) - 4 April 2023 - https://csgb.co.uk/cardoftheday/2023-04-04
Walkers - Dominoes WTC logo (1924) - 5 April 2023 - https://csgb.co.uk/cardoftheday/2023-04-05
This set is great though, because it is very much larger than the standard set, being up to double nine, rather than double six. This means that there are ten suits and ten cards in each suit (blank to nine). You may be wondering why there is a need for so many extra dominoes, but briefly it is to allow more than the usual number of players to take part in a simple game, or to allow for the play of more difficult and intricate ones.
Our original Ogdens reference book (RB.15 - issued 1949) tells us these are :
76. DOMINOES - Black Backs - (adopted title). Unnumbered. fronts in black, white and gold. Backs in black. "Ogdens Cigarettes"in reversed white lettering, inscribed "This series contains a complete set up to double nine". Home issue 1909.
The description in our World Tobacco Issues Indexes is scant, only "DOMINOES (A). Black and white. Unnd. Set to double nine (55). See RB.15/76." Though the updated index gives the code of the more recent Ogden reference book, as RB.115/76.
Ogdens issued other dominoes, too, earlier, between 1900 and 1905. These had beauties on the front, and there were three series of them -
Two of these had dominoes on one side and the other side carried pictures that are also found in the set of "Actresses FROGA" - issued by Faulkner, Richmond-Cavendish, Ogden, Goodbody, and Archer, plus many more. These are chocolate brown and multi-backed. Twenty-eight form a set, but there are two versions, one quoted as having mitred corners, and the other quoted as plain corners. Now I am told that "mitred" means that there is a line connecting the corner of the frameline with the edge corner diagonally behind it. Anyway, seven portraits make up each set, but they are different actresses.
The other group is known as "Beauties MOM" - because they were issued by Morris, Ogdens and Muratti. These are again beauties heads on the other side to the dominoes, and once more they are chocolate brown and multi-backed. It says that fifty-six form a set, but we have discovered that there are fourteen different beauties shown and each has four backs, in other words this is two sets of dominoes.
T. Wall & Son [trade : ice cream : UK] "Dr. Who Adventure" (1967) 8/36 - WAL-260 :
So, to Sci-Fi, and greetings to all the Whovians across the galaxy, who will instantly know that today, and every year on December the 21st, is International Dalek Remembrance Day, marking the day, in 1963, that these fearsome beasties first entered the scene.
For the benefit of those who do not know anything about Dr. Who or the Daleks, briefly the Daleks come from the Planet Skaro, and they were created by fusing a human with a metal outer cover which can never be removed. The process takes away their humanity and leaves just hate, and most of all for Dr. Who, who is the last remaining of a race called The Time Lords, who fought the Daleks over many many years and tried to wipe them out. In return the Daleks destroyed the planet of the Time Lords, called Gallifrey, and doomed the Doctor to wander forever, to never to find lasting companionship, and never to die, just to be reborn every so often with a new face and have to find himself a way out of the wreckage of his former life all over again.
These cards were issued with Sky Ray lollipops and they were designed to go in a booklet, which also contained games and a nine page story. There is also an advertisement on YouTube which shows someone pretending to be Patrick Troughton, the Doctor of the time, who did not take part in the ad, for whatever reason. The advert even shows the cards....
Now our original British Trade Index catalogues this set as "DR.WHO ADVENTURE. Sm. Nd. (36). It is slightly altered, for the better, by the updated volume, which gives us the date and size, reading in its entirety : "DR.WHO ADVENTURE. 1967. 67 x 37. Nd. (36).
U.S. Playing Card Company [trade/commercial : cards : O/S : USA] "The X-Files Collectible Card Game" (1996-1998)
And so, to close, something to illuminate our darkness, for it is National Flashlight Day.
Now I did try to find a cartophilic flashlight, and there is one in Coopers Tea "Do You Know", but I do not have that, and neither does anyone I know. Now I could say that I spent hours, hunting way back in the darkest recesses of my mind, but the truth is that as soon as I saw the word flashlight I thought of the way that they were used to form a huge letter X in the darkest points of the X-Files, and that led me, quite quickly, to this.
Ok it is not really cartophilic but I have been asked about them a few times when they have turned up in mixed lots of cards. So now I can "shine a light" on them for anyone else who might come across one in a box some day in the future. And I will make it short and snappy, but only because they will appear as part of another longer article in our printed magazine later in the year!
These cards were a playing card kind of game, produced by the U.S. Playing Card Company. They were only printed for two years, and the game was only intended to be played by two people at any one time, but somehow there are many thousands of different cards, which possibly led to its downfall, not just because of the cost of production, but the complexity that they created. There are cards showing the characters, locations, events, and crime-fighting or other equipment that appeared as part of the series.
It was actually a bit like Cluedo, because at the start each player picks a card showing a character and keeps it safe and secret. Then, as they go along, asking questions, and uncovering clues, the play leads them to the identity, they hope, of these hidden characters, and once one is identified the game is done. There was a basic mode, and an advanced one which added in conspiracy and combat cards - plus dedicated rounds that you could not vary from until it was time for the debriefing.
There was also a very long and extraordinarily detailed manual, the sort of thing I have never read, not even for a car.
But if you want to know more it is much more expertly summarised, including all the Promos and Editions, at Wikipedia/XFCCG - and whoever wrote it has my admiration!
This week's Cards of the Day...
This week we have been waxing lyrical, and attempting to get in tune with each other, maybe even to gain the true nirvana of completely harmonising...
Our theme has been a little run-through, of tunes old, and tones new, from all facets of the musical card-world, using hopefully melodious notes I made earlier.
Though there may be a few disc(h)ordant airs when mum pulls the internet plug out after I have typed all six days and not saved a single one of them....
Saturday, 9th December 2023
Now the clue here was near the top, it was the word Hall, which should have led you to one of the most favourite of all Christmas tunes, "Deck the Hall" - and we are telling the truth there, for originally it had no final "s". However now it seems to have been permanently added. And it is also known by the alternate title of "Tis the Season to be Jolly" - which is technically the first line.
Maybe its popularity here revolves round the fact that it is based on an early Welsh tune, with English lyrics, which were written by a Scotsman, Thomas Oliphant. Award yourself extra brownie points if you linked the fact that our footballer was also Scottish.
It won the New York Public Library poll of favourite Christmas songs in 2016 as well, but there is an American connection because of the comedy film of the same name which was released in 2006
This set, despite its huge size, only covers the First Division of the Football League. There has been a subtle change from the 1972 version, and that is that the puzzle cards are no longer cards, they are just stickers.
You will find a checklist at the Football Cartophilic Info Exchange/F73 - and pictures of the puzzle cards at Nigels Webspace/73 Gallery.
The back of these cards says 'Printed in Italy by Ediraf S.p.A.' which is odd because the 1972 ones actually said "Printed in Italy by Panini 1971", and the year after ours again says "Printed in Italy by Panini 1973" .
There could be a story here to dig up because I did discover that there was a bit of a rivalry between Panini and another Turin company called Ediraf, or Ediraf Felicitare. If you go to the Football Soccercards site there also is a whole page showing cards that were issued by Ediraf, not just footballers either, and they also have other names, NELLA RAF and SUPER RAF.
Sunday, 10th December 2023
Now the word here was "MERRY", which appears in a truly enormous amount of songs and carols - starting with""God Rest You Merry, Gentlemen", "We Wish You a Merry Christmas", "Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas", and "Merry Christmas, Everyone" - but we will talk about that later! And that`s to name but the ones that I could think of off the top of my head. The word also appears on countless decorations and on Christmas cards. And in fact it is probably safe to say that the only word you will hear more this season is the word "Christmas" itself.
Our horse, Merry Hampton, was born in 1884, but had a very short career, plagued by injuries, running just four times. However one of those is recorded here, his winning of the Epsom Derby, his first ever race, at the odds of 11/1. His only other race of note was coming second in the St. Leger.
However his owner was quite a character; one George Alexander Baird, who was also known as the pseudonym of Mr. Abington. You can see him, and another view of Merry Hampton, on F. & J. Smith`s "Derby Winners" which oddly combines both names and calls his owner Mr. Abington Baird. The back also tells us that he was "The Late Mr. Abington Baird", because he died on the 18th of March 1893. However as the cards were issued way after that, in 1913, one detects that perhaps the writer of the back was still a little enamoured. George Alexander Baird was born into money, being the grandson of Vice-Admiral Villiers Francis Hatton MP - but he liked to play it rough, he was always getting into trouble with those that mattered in the racing establishment, whether he was being warned for rough riding or unsportsmanlike behaviour to his fellow jockeys, or deliberately flouting the rules of training or ownership. Despite this is was the most successful of all the amateur jockeys of the time. He was also involved in the sport of boxing, at the prize fighting end, and was again brought up on charges of fixing the bouts. However this almost certainly thrilled the ladies, and he was involved in several divorce cases, some of which were settled out of court, with one of his most notorious relationships being none other than Lillie Langtry.
Then at the age of just thirty-three, he was dead, of pneumonia, in New Orleans, where he had travelled to take part in a series of prize fights, one of which was supposed to be against the famous Gentleman Jim Corbett. However other rumours, of illegal fights, persist.
In our original, and our updated World Tobacco Issues Indexes, this set forms part of a group, described as :
RACEHORSES (A) Sm. 69 x 35. Unnd.
American Horses (25). Ref. USA/229. See ABC/229.
A. Back with series title, “Famous Running Horses” and list of 50 subjects in (1) and (2)
B. Back “Return 25 of these small cards . . .” with 11 lines of text.
English Horses (25). Ref. USA/230. Back “Return 25 of these cards . . .”, with 6 lines of text.
Great American Trotters (25). Ref. USA/231. See ABC/231. Back “Return 25 of these small cards . . .” with 11 lines of text.
Jefferson Burdick, in his catalogues, has this as three sets, namely:
229. Famous Running Horses (25 American)
230. Famous Running Horses (25 English)
231. Great American Trotters (25)
He values the first two sets at ten cents a card, and the third at twenty-five cents a card.
However he also lists another group, in the section below, for “large cards”, namely
239. Racehorse –
Type 1 – Famous Running Horses (75) 8 x 10
As No. 229-230, plus 25 additional American horses
Type 2 – Famous American Trotters (25) 10 x 12, as No.231 (also used on large displays).
He values type 1 at a dollar each, with type 2 at five dollars each.
These are almost certainly the “heavy plate-paper” pictures which are mentioned, on the reverses of the cards, as being sent in exchange for those smaller cards.
Once I read this I returned to the original World Tobacco Issues Index, and tracked them down to right at the end of the Kinney listing, under K32-32 (or K524-680 in the updated version), as “Section 2. Non-Insert Issues in U.S.A. Premium issues, exchanged for cards or coupons.”
They are catalogued therein as :
RACEHORSES. (A) Ex. Lg. Unnd.
1. Size 253 x 203. (75). Designs of Set K32-22.1 and K32-22.2 with 25 added. Ref. USA/239.1
2. Size 315 x 253. (25). Designs of Set K32-22.3. Ref. USA/239.2
Monday, 11th December 2023
The clue word here was "CAROL", which is described by the Oxford English Dictionary as "a religious folk song or popular hymn, particularly one associated with Christmas." And they have been known as carols all the way from Medieval times, and they are still being written, every year. And they can be blended - on which "note", this year, the Church of England announced it has set the old favourite 'The First Nowell' to a brand new tune.
The only difference between a carol and a hymn seems to be that carols are only sung in Church at Christmas. However they do not have to be religious to be called a carol and they are not just sung at Church. Though they are getting more infrequent, a group of people who sing for money at your door are also called carol singers.
Our original RB.13 reference book to the issues of Godfrey Phillips may tell us, under the heading of “BEAUTIES OF TO-DAY. Sm. Nd.” that “There are four different series” - but actually there are several sets of this name, both black and white and coloured, and even photographic.
Briefly, because we will show and discuss them all in good time, if we have not done some already, these four in that section are easy to distinguish, for there are different lengths to each set, a 44, a 50, a 34, and our set, of 36 cards.
The pictures to our set are often very blurred, but I like it very much, especially the way that some of the beauties pose in a really risque way for the times, but still retain their dignity intact.
You can see them all, and wonder at why their careers seemed to get no further, at Immortal Ephemera/Phillips40 - though I could not fathom how to scroll so just had to click on each picture.
Anyway it is described there as :
20. 36. “A Series of 36 of these Studies now being issued with these Cigarettes. SECOND SERIES”. Fronts printed by offset process in colour. Backs in grey-black. Home issue, 1940.
Our World Tobacco Issues Index keeps the same four sets in the group, but shortens the description. Luckily it is still easy to spot it, described as “A Series of 36 . . . . Second Series”. Coloured.”
Tuesday, 12th December 2023
Just in case you do not know who this is, it is Mariah Carey, and it is also the first time she ever appeared on a card - or technically, a sticker.
Her hit song, "All I want for Christmas is You" is one of the most played songs of the modern era, and one of the biggest selling singles ever. It was first released in October 1994, simply as the first single from her forthcoming Christmas album. Instead of that it has been number one in every decade, and is very likely to be playing in a background near you this Christmas too.
Now this card is half of the entire full length portrait, which occupies the album space for cards 22 and 23. And here it is. And just for good measure, cards 24 and 25 are also of her, similarly two separate images with only three borders, which, when placed together, forms in to a whole full length portrait.
A checklist of the entire set of these stickers can be found at The Trading Card Database/SH95 - and we are certain it will awaken lots of memories for those of us whose musical era this was.
As for me, I note the cards of Green Day, Nirvana, and U2 (or Bono, anyway). Though sadly there are not many actual card images shown from this set. On which note you do have to sign up to the site in order to donate your scans, but it could be something some of us, including me, may be willing to do, to lend a hand, in the cartophilic spirit?
Anyway I have done some checking and it appears the first Panini "Smash Hits Collection" was a set of 144 stickers issued in 1984, but that was four years after Panini first embraced the music world with their 1979 "Rock and Pop Collection". So I have to wonder why they left the scene and then returned to it? Any ideas....?
Wednesday, 13th December 2023
Before there was Mariah Carey, there was Slade. And their biggest hit was "Merry Christmas Everybody", which was an instant number one, selling three hundred thousand copies on its first day of release. It is also fifty years old this Christmas. However it took until last year to receive a proper video, it was generally shown with just the band, performing on Top of the Pops in 1973. That video was animated but as of last month there is a brand new one, which you can see at the Gold Radio Website
It takes until our British Trade Index part IV for these to make their first appearance, and they are described as : "Pop Star Cameos. Circular. 62 m/m dia. (24). See Dc466."
Now Dc466 enlivens the tale a lot, for that reads :
Dc466. POP DISCS or POP STAR CAMEOS. Circular, 62 m/m dia. (24). Front per Fig.Dc466.B
Mister Softee. See MJZ-23. Back per Fig. Dc466.A
Tonibell. Set TNA-23. Back per Fig. Dc466.C
There then follows a list of all the people on the card which I hope to find elsewhere so that I can link to it rather than have to type it. And I have many thanks to The Trading Card Database/TonibellCam. Though not all the cards are illustrated.
This list, and the one in our Trade Index part IV, are both in alphabetical order, because the cards are unnumbered.
Looking at the backs they are identical in every way save the wording in the top black half circle, which either reads “Mister Softee” in slanted script, followed by “POP DISCS” in capital letters - or “tonibell” in upright block letters, followed by “POP STAR CAMEOS” in capital letters.
Further digging reveals that the Mister Softee version is listed in most dealers catalogues to have been issued first, in 1972. However I have found the Tonibell version in the “Cartophilic Notes and News” magazine for November/December 1972, as part of the “Some Recent Issues” section, which at that time was compiled by Clifford Duge. In here, they are described as :
Tonibell Ltd. (Ice cream). “Pop Star Cameos”. 24 to the series. I have not yet seen these cards but W. Titchmarsh reports that the cards are circular and unnumbered. Titled and described on the back and distributed from ice cream vans that tour the district.
Neither version appears in our updated British Trade Index, for that only covers cards issued up to 1970.
Thursday, 14th December 2023
Now this card takes us back to the origins of Christmas music, many centuries ago. For though it is known that at midwinter people got together and feasted and songs were sung, and it is presumed that those in the religious communities would listen and perhaps even ask why they could not have something else to sing.
The first semi-religious songs are believed to have been written by the Franciscans, in the fourteenth century.
And later it would go the other way, with secular words added to religious tunes - a good example of this is "O Come All Ye Faithful", a mid-seventeenth century carol, but which, in its original holy version, was in Latin.
Now why we have Worcester Cathedral is simply that it is the only card I have. But it turns out that there has been a choir at this Cathedral for at least a millennium, and has taken part in the renowned Three Choirs Festival since the eighteenth century. Not only that but in 2024 they are hosting that very festival at the end of July and the beginning of August. They are also the only cathedral to have a Voluntary Choir, as well as being the first one to have a purpose built bell ringing training facility.
This set is first described in the new issues column of "Cigarette Card News", Number 3, Volume 1, dated December 1933. At that time the column was called "Notes on Current Series", and it was written by C. L. Porter, who lists it as :
Wills. Cathedrals. Series of 25 large cards. I think this is the finest set I have seen for a very long time. The fine architecture of the originals is faithfully reproduced, and beautiful colouring makes them absolute works of art. Not many about yet.
It next appears, ten years after, in our reference book to W.D. & H.O. Wills, part IV. This is a more technical description, being :
164. 25. CATHEDRALS. Large cards, size 79 x 62 m/m. Fronts printed by letterpress in colour. Backs in grey, with descriptive text. Home issue, 1933
In our World Tobacco Issues Indexes this has been rather drastically shortened to "CATHEDRALS. Lg. Nd. (25)"
Personally these very olde-worlde views of Cathedrals are very reminiscent of those Osbornes that were created, at first, by Arthur Osborne of Faversham, and became so popular that they even had a stand at the Wembley Exhibition. To nudge your memory, these items were three dimensional creamy-coloured plaques showing famous buildings or scenes, which were made of a substance called Ivorex, which was technically plaster of Paris, moulded in a clay or later plasticine mould , then painted in water colour and sealed with an application or two of wax. You can see them at pretty much any online auction by searching for Ivorex. There were over eight hundred different subjects produced, and they were later made by a company called Bossons, who are more known for the three dimensional human heads that used to hang, very oddly, out of living room walls.
However these are definitely not pure reproductions of those because the pencil strokes are clear to see especially along the framelines. But they may well have been inspired by them. And I have found no mention of any artist, yet . So if anyone recognises the work, please do tell, even if it is a hunch, for sometimes such things lead to spectacular discoveries.
Now I should say the "grey" given as the back colour is actually rather greenish and also very light, so this picture has had a little tinkering.
Friday, 15th December 2023
So the last card I need to catch up with from this week`s newsletter is this one, the reindeer - and of course, it is a little nudge to our rosy nosed compadre Rudolph.
Now Rudolph was a late addition to Santa`s reindeer squad, which first drew a sleigh in 1823, as part of Clement Moore's 'Twas the Night Before Christmas. And he did not start off as a song, but as a character written by Robert L. May, for a booklet published by Montgomery Ward, the huge department store, in 1939 - simply to serve as a little Christmas delight, a free colouring book just for juvenile shoppers as they visited Father Christmas in his in store grotto. And Montgomery Ward actually saved money, because before this their colouring books had been printed and designed elsewhere, whilst this was an entirely in-house effort.
In this book he was the youngest of them all, which I do not think appears in the song, but he still had the illuminated proboscis, and the others made fun of him, which I always felt very sad about and sympathetic with.
He first appeared on screen in cartoon form in 1948, but his big break, and the reason he is here, is that in 1949 his story was adapted into a song, by none other than the brother of the writer. This was then recorded, by Gene Autry, the Singing Cowboy, who we have spoken of before, in our newsletter of 22nd July 2023 - and it made number one in Christmas 1949, becoming one of the best selling records of all time pretty much until the 1980s.
Anyway you can read some other details at Mental Floss/Rudolph
Our British Trade Index part II lists these as section 2 of the Brooke Bond story - as "ISSUES WITH ROUNDED CORNERS. Issued in North America by Brooke Bond Canada and Brooke Bond Tea Co. Inc. Small size 68 x 37 m/m" The description for our set is :
SERIES No.2 ANIMALS OF NORTH AMERICA. Sm. Nd. (48) CU.2
A. Back in black with Montreal address
B. Back in blue with New York address
No overseas issues appear in our updated volume so this is its only record. However you can see the other cards at Trading Card Database/BB-ANA. And more will appear tomorrow!
Well we got there in the end, despite some fraying of the nerves. The card codes and any missing gen will be added tomorrow, and anything really earth shattering that we discover will appear in the What`s New Banner on the front page with a direct link into this newsletter
Have a great weekend - and see you all next week, on the 22nd of December!