14th June 1995. ‘Faggies’.

‘If to collect cigarette cards is a sign of eccentricity, how then will posterity judge one who amassed the biggest collection in the world?’ ‘Frankly I care not’. 

The words of Edward Wharton-Tygar who died Today in 1995. Sometime businessman, SOE Agent, and who as a Phillumenist was the owner of the largest collection of some 2 million cigarette cards, confirmed by The Guinness Book of Records and which now reposes in the British Museum. (1)

One of the earliest tobacco companies was James Taddy and Company founded in 1740, which by 1897 was issuing cards featuring ‘Actresses’, and in 1907 issued a series of ‘Footballers’, oval-shaped, in black and white (below left), and ‘Clowns and Circus Artistes’, (below right).

However in 1920 the workers complained about wages and working conditions which the Company refused to meet and therefore ceased trading.







Cigarette cards came out originally to stiffen paper packets then the advertising benefits became apparent.

WD and HO Wills in 1887 were one of the first to include cards, followed by  the John Player series, in 1893, ’Castles and Abbeys’.

Then Ogden’s in 1894/5 issued ‘Ships and Sailors’ and ‘Cricketers’ in 1896 and in 1906 brought out their ’Footballers’, one of the first in colour.

Below are some of the 50 ‘Action’ cards issued by Players in October 1928, followed by another 25 in February 1929.


In September 1934 Players issued a series: ‘Hints on Association Football’ (above and below).








Many tobacco companies were to be found in ports which imported tobacco: Glasgow ( Arthur Gale & Co Ltd) and Liverpool and London especially.

Early cigarette Brands had exotic names: Camel, Lucky Dream, Myrtle Grove, Twin Screw, Ark Royal, Three Birds, Workman, Star, Salome, Trap (Dog Racing).

Kensitas logo had its butler and tray and, ‘As good as really good cigarettes can be’. The ‘Winged Horse’ logo of Turf Cigarettes.

Military association names saw Greys, Guards; heroes; Sir John Lubbock, Lord Tennyson, Charles Bradlaugh Lord Baden-Powell and Grace Darling. Foreign service in Diplomat, Ambassador, Embassy and Consulate. London names: Pall Mall, Piccadilly and the ill-starred Strand.

‘Karam’ from Major Drapkin & Co Ltd, ‘Kilties’ (showing a Highland Dancer) from D&J Macdonald’s Glasgow; ‘Virginia Beauties’ from Singleton & Cole, Birmingham.

One of last famous designers of ‘faggies’ was Frank Henry Mason the watercolour painter of marine subjects who did the art-work for Player’s ‘Sea tramps and Traders’ 1938, and the October 1939 series, ‘British Naval Craft’, one of the last produced owing to paper shortage in the early days of WWII.

(1) President of the Cartophile Society of GB to 1995.

Ref: Punch Magazine. April 24 1968. E.S. Turner. p.599.

Ref: Wills’ Family. Wikipedia.org.

Ref: spartacus-ed.com/Pic of footballer.

Ref: wikipedia.com/Pics.

Ref: ebay.Taddy Cigarette Cards/Pic.


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About colindunkerley

My name is Colin Dunkerley who having spent two years in the Royal Army Pay Corps ploughed many a barren industrial furrow until drawn to the 'chalk-face' as a teacher, now retired. I have spent the last 15 years researching all aspects of life in Britain since Roman times.

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