The Frozen Mississippi River still flows beneath the ice

It’s been over a year since I wrote a blog. I haven’t been too busy but I sure am lazy! As age sets in I think about what to do with my collections. I worked a flea market last summer and there was lots of interest in the few cigarette cards I had put out for sale. One buyer met up with me later in the year and bought an album of American cards from me that consisted of numerous cigarette cards, Arbuckle Coffee Cards and some gum cards. As sad as it was for me to say farewell to those pieces of my collection, it’s just as well for me to sell them now than to leave them for someone else to do it when I’m either not here anymore or I become unable to do so later. I’ve basically been out of the card scene for awhile so the interest from old Sports Cards collectors that have changed and come over to the non-sports cards is new to me. I have read that during the pandemic unemployment times cards have been bought and sold at a much increased pace than before, so maybe this new interest is most recent. However, I did monitor eBay and haven’t noticed anything new during that time. Perhaps I didn’t monitor it close enough. Anyway, the time comes when we should consider passing our collections on to other custodians. After all, that is what we are, custodians. Collections are a preservation of history and heritage and all have their place somewhere and in some time.

Most of my collection does consist of British cigarette cards, they’re not considered worth as much as the American cards, something I heard a couple of dealers remark on at the flea market. But the vast issues of cigarette cards are world wide. The American cards only cover a few subjects in comparison. Asia had numerous issues and some most interesting stories in connection of the subjects. South American sets are hard to come by but there are numerous single cards that can be found. African cards, Australian, New Zealand, Malaysia, Cochin China, a number of European, pretty much any continent and country had issues of cigarette cards. It was in the interest of the tobacco companies to sell their cigarettes and the little pictures inserted in the packs provided an incentive to smoke and collect. I would venture as far as to claim that there were people who probably learned how to read or at least advance their reading skills from the biographies printed on the backs of the cards. Nearly every subject was covered in cigarette cards issued by tobacco companies and there was also much to learn from them as well, like Air Raid Precautions during the World Wars, First Aid, How to make something, complete instructions on how to make a wireless radio was set issued in Britain. Germany had a photography set that illustrated to the collector on the use of shadow and light to enhance black & white photos. If you insist on only collecting American cards, you are missing quite a lot.

The list of subjects is endless. Everything under the sun had been depicted on cigarette cards at one time.

Hassan, The Oriental Smoke
Boon Island Light

Light houses have been a favorite of mine since childhood when I used to dream about living in one. This set of 50 Lighthouses is dated to 1910.

When was the last time you tried to cook a pigeon? There are 50 cards in this set titled “Cooking Subjects” dated 1889.

Postage stamps are another collection item. The Post Office entices collecting with all the pretty commemorative stamps in a display case. Many of us have a hard time using those stamps so they usually get stored in albums. With the Forever Stamps these collections never lose their usage with age. But if they don’t get used in a person’s lifetime, they’re often sold for less than their value at sales. I was told people buy them up and use them to pay the postage on packages, because even if they’re not Forever Stamps, they still have their face value.

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