Early Vintage player photos
Cigarette and Trade cards and Team silks
Tim donated his collection of cards in 2023.
"Conceived of in the late nineteenth century with the invention of the cigarette making machine, the Cigarette card was first used as a means of protecting and stiffening what were relatively flimsy cigarettes wrapped in paper packaging. Yet, with industrialisation’s demand for innovation, James Buchanan Duke saw an opportunity in the card-stiffeners and started a soon-to-be trend of introducing colourful adverts on to the cards in order to further promote his business. With other tobacco manufacturers following suit, Cigarette producers were increasingly under strain to think of new and ground-breaking means of appealing to the ever-evolving and notably male smoking market and in a society thriving off commercialised leisure culture, depictions and information on cultural heroes seemed a promising fit. By 1887 the cigarette card had reached the UK, with Bristolian Tobacco company W. D. & H. O. Wills regularly producing collectable picture cards featuring glamorous film stars, sports stars and military themes. As time progressed, the collectable card was taken up by a diversity of industries including grocery stores, confectionery manufacturers as well as magazines and even understood as collectable objects in their own right.
Beyond commercial practices, the Sporting Cigarette Card was a unique means through which fans could gain access to their sporting heroes. Newspapers did not often contain pictures of the players and so a primary means of viewing and eventually recognising the sporting-athletes was by visiting the clubs directly or via the medium of the cigarette card. In this sense, by widening access to visual representations of the players, the Collectible cards furthered the long-held notion of football as the ‘People’s game’."