Monday, January 5, 2015

Cigarette Cards from the 19th and Early 20th Century

Leach Cross, Prize Fighter, Cigarette Card Issued by Mecca Cigarettes 

Cigarette cards are a fascinating collectible and they can sometimes be very valuable, depending on rarity and condition. They are small and take up little space; an entire collection can be kept in a notebook with archival quality plastic pocketed sheets. Cigarette cards were issued by tobacco companies as advertising and inserted into cigarette packs as stiffeners to protect the cigarettes.

The card pictured is a dramatic image of the fighter Leach Cross in green trunks on a red background. Offered by Mecca Cigarettes as part of their Champion Athlete and Prize Fighter Series, the card features the fighter's statistics and some advertising on the reverse. This card measures 2 1/2 x 3 1/4 inches. There is some variation in size in the different cards and series.

Uhlan, Champion Trotter Cigarette Card

Other subjects represented on cigarette cards included beautiful women and actresses, Native American chiefs, many other sportsmen, sentimental subjects, nature, architecture and much more. Most of the cards have descriptions of the subjects and they are a wonderful way to see what our ancestors considered important and beautiful.

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