Title: Guide to the Cigarette & Trade Card collection.
Date range of collection: c1900 - 1995.
Scope and content note: The cigarette and trade card collection consists of series of cards which were issued by cigarette companies, or other companies such as confectionery firms, cereal manufacturers and clothes companies. Beginning with advertisement cards, they soon progressed to numbered series (ranging from 10 to 100 cards) on particular themes . Themes include scenes from war/war incidents, crests and badges, officers and VC winners, medals, aircraft, warships, uniforms and modern war weapons. Non-conflict subjects include cars, sports, butterflies, birds and flags. The collection is printed on either card, or silk (sometimes paper backed). Cards are stored by series in both folders and albums. The average size of a card is 360mm x 640mm, however this can range up to the size of a playing card. The series in the collection were all produced between 1900 and 1995. However some series, notably German ones produced in the 1930s, cover topics from as early as 1813, up to 1939. Features of the the collection included a series called Australian VCs and Officers, and cards featuring Australian Official War Photographs.
Extent: 9 folders; 25 albums. (Approximately 6812 original cards; 1046 duplicate cards).
Location: Published & Digitised Collections, Research Centre, Australian War Memorial.
Related collections: Postcards and Souvenirs.
Copyright: Contact Senior Curator of Published & Digitised Collections.
Preferred citation:Cigarette and trade card collection, Published & Digitised Collections, Australian War Memorial.
History of Cigarette and Trade Cards
Cigarette and trade cards were a form of advertising card issued between the 19th century to the present day to promote goods or services. They were often distributed by merchants or enclosed with products such as bread, cigarettes, coffee and chocolate. Cards often bear the sellers or product name and a pictorial representation of the service or product. In other cases the picture may be unrelated to the product.
Cigarette cards were also used as a form of propaganda as illustrated by the German Cigarette cards used to promote the virtues of the Third Reich and Raemaekers Cartoon series, based on anti-German propaganda cartoons drawn by Louis Raemaekers.
Skinner, Dion H. Cigarette cards Australian issues and values (Rennicks books: Malvern South Australia,1983)
London cigarette card company, The complete catalogue of British cigarette cards / compiled by the London cigarette card company (Webb & Bower : Exter [Devon], 1981)