Our original intention was not just to collect, but to record all the details of every card we could find, from right across the globe, whether issued with tobacco products or as advertising for all manner of shops and suppliers. When Colonel Charles Lane Bagnall D.S.O. M.C. T.D. F.P.R.S.I. laid the foundation stone of Cartophily in the 1920’s, he did so with on ground with no footings, for though cards had been issued since the 1870s, few records or information had been noted down, and requests for information from the issuers was met with surprise, for cards were ephemeral, purely intended to sell more product by encouraging the basic human instinct to form collections, and then once that set had paled, to be discarded, destroyed, and replaced with something new.  As for their origins, nothing could be less glamorous; sell a commodity in a paper packet and it risks of getting damaged; add a stiff layer between paper and content and the risk is lessened or prevented entirely. Then someone had an idea – the someone is considered to have been Edward Bok, see - if they printed a picture on one side of the cardboard and their trademark on the other, it provided extra advertising. This developed into issuers producing different picture cards every so often, then to numbering each card, and finally to adding the words “A SERIES OF…” plus the number, so collectors knew there were other cards, still out there, yet to find, and the chase was on.

Our research continues daily, and anyone can join in. This will be the landing page of discovery - found knowledge on vintage cards, notifications of brand new ones, requests for lists of unnumbered cards, or errors and varieties, the location of cards on your specialist subject that as yet elude you, wants, swaps, etc. If you have always wondered, wonder no more....

Research blog

The word 'Blog' is spelt out on a typewriter. The card-collector`s encyclopaedia, and updated on a constant basis


A set of research books with blue, red and tan covers. The CSGB library is available for use by members, non-members, the press and archivists.