Wharton-Tigar, Edward

Our third President was Edward Clement Wharton-Tigar M.B.E. F.C.I.S.

And we start this tiny tribute to him with a card which you may think of as strange : 

Wills British Birds

This is W.D. & H.O. Wills` "British Birds", and this set formed both his introduction to card collecting, and his earliest recollection, for, as he himself often stated, at the age of four, his father suddenly gave him a cigarette card, fresh from the packet, and it was from this very set. What is less widely reported is that it was also this very card, number 50, of the Corn Crake. 

It seems an odd subject to catch his attention so. But it did, for whatever reason. And he said that from then on he was a card collector, and wanted to collect them all; that once he started collecting there was always the thrill of finding a card he did not have, the anticipation of getting the last card he needed for a complete set, and the incredible delight of finding a card from a set he had never seen before. 

Now Edward had been born on February the 18th 1913, in Finchley, North West London, and this set was issued in 1917. According to the dates which were recorded in the Wills Works magazine, this set was issued from May 1917, after the issue of two sets in short succession, "Gems of Russian Architecture" in February, and "Allied Army Leaders" in March. 

He tells us that his first school was Langley Place, a prep school at St. Leonards on Sea in Sussex. We do not know much about that, but he did say that when he was ten years old he already had a sizeable collection of cards, and that one of his favourites was W.D. & H.O. Wills "Cricketers 1896". This is almost certainly because cricket was a game that he loved, and would continue to do so throughout his life. He recorded that he had to buy these cards, not swap, and they were costing him 2d. each. 

and that leads us to our second card, and his second school, Malvern College, or the arms thereof. 


Now during the school holidays from Malvern he returned to London, and this is where he made the acquaintance of Colonel Bagnall, who at that time, well before the days of the short-lived "British Cigarette Card Company", or its replacement, the "London", was living even at a different address, in Brentford, but collecting, researching, and selling cards privately. Despite their age difference, the two struck up a friendship, and pretty soon the holidays were no longer aimless, but spent in sorting, cataloguing, and researching cards.

His intention was to go to University, I am not yet sure which, but somehow the family ran into difficulties with finance, and he could not go. Instead, he had a lucky break, and in 1930, through a family friend, he was offered a job at Selection Trust, an international mining company that whilst based in London controlled diamond and copper mines in Africa. He was only seventeen, and his job was as a junior clerk, or an office boy - at a salary of a pound a week. 


=== and yet more follows, tomorrow......


just ignore this bit, it is but the bones of what was here before, to be fitted in amongst the much larger tribute we are giving

He was also our second research editor, and worked not only on the Society magazines, but also on “Un-numbered Series : Cartophilic Handbook Number 1” – so named because it was the first of many books taken from his extensive collection of cards and his quite amazing information index system, the combination of which would also lead to the production of our World Tobacco Issues Index in 1956. Mr. Wharton-Tigar was the owner of “the largest cigarette card collection in the World”, and was recorded as such in The Guinness Book of Records. In fact when the house next door to his came up for sale he bought it for additional storage. His entire collection was bequeathed to the British Museum on his death in 1995, where it is registered as a group under 2006,0201.1.  He frequently said his cards were what he wanted to be remembered for, but he did write a biography of his amazing wartime exploits, simply called “Burning Bright”. Obituaries also give a hint of these; probably the best factual one is this one, in the New York Times. He also has a Wikipedia entry at https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Edward_Wharton-Tigar