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Are Cigarette Cards Collectable?

Are Cigarette Cards Collectable?

Here at Arnett Vintage Co we often get asked ‘Are cigarette cards worth collecting?’, and ‘What is my collection worth?’ So we asked our vintage collector expert Sarah Arnett to help answer these questions.

What are Cigarette Cards?

During the late 1800’s and early 1900’s cigarette card manufacturers used cigarette cards to stiffen the packaging and add support to the products inside. The cards were referred to as ‘Trade Cards’, and often showed images of the culture of the period, such as actors and actresses, sports and even flowers.
Interesting fact – UK tobacco company WD & HO Wills, were one of the first companies to include advertising cards with their cigarettes, and are often among the most collectable on the market today. Cigarette card sizes were generally 68mm x 37mm for the smaller cards and 82mm x 72mm for the larger cards.

If you’re wanting to learn more about vintage trade cards, we recommended checking out the following books which are available on Amazon;

– ‘Cigarette & Trade Card Catalogue 2020’

–  ‘A History of Cigarette and Trade Cards: The Magic Inside the packet’

What makes Cigarette Cards valuable?

The condition is generally a major factor in cigarette card value, and typically cards that have been well kept with no marks or sign of wear will always demand a higher price.

Well kept complete sets of cigarette cards can be sought after, especially amongst serious collectors. Depending on the age and condition of the sets, they can fetch high values. However it is also worth bearing in mind that depending on the set, some cigarette cards can command a better price sold separately, so it is always well worth checking. Another main factor of the desirability of sets is the theme, with some sets only being produced for a short period of time, some featuring ‘pop-up’ designs, and some featuring printed signatures. All these factor in the worth of both individual and sets of cards.

Cigarette card sets were typically between 25-50, however some sets of 100 were produced, but these tend to be rarer.

Where to buy Cigarette Cards?

Cigarette cards can be purchased easily online, typically eBay and Etsy would be a good starting point. Depending on how rare the cigarette cards is, vintage shops or online vintage retail re-sellers would be a good point of call, although do remember to haggle! Online auctions of vintage collectable cigarette cards are also often held, so its well worth checking out Google to find these specific sales.

Popular Cigarette Card Brands:

Tobacco manufacturers Allen and Ginter, W.D. & H.O. Wills, John Player and Ogdens are amongst the larger manufacturers of cigarette trade cards, with some of their most collectable sets being vintage Victorian Trade Cards, American Baseball Cards and Vintage actors and actresses. Victorian Cigarette cards were highly popular when first launched, simply because this was a great  way for people to see soldiers, medals, countries, and actors/actresses during the time.

Should I start collecting cigarette cards?

Collecting vintage antique cigarette trade cards can be a fun hobby, however it can be also somewhat costly depending on the type of trade cards you decide to begin collecting.
Our advice is to enter into collecting cigarette cards with caution, collecting them isn’t going to be a ‘Get rich quick’ solution, so we highly advise that you do your research first. On the flip side it can be a great hobby, something which you can do together with family and friends, and you can certainly learn some great historical information along the way.

Arnett Vintage Co – Vintage Cigarette Cards:

Here at Arnett Vintage Company we have a unique collection of cigarette cards on our website. From animals to military cigarette cards, we are forever building our collection. Furthermore if you’re looking to sell your collection of tobacco trade cards or part of it, be sure to get in touch.

cigarette cards  cigarette cards 


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