Cigarette or tobacco cards originated in the 1870s as a way to stiffen cigarette packs. These cards were blank until a businessman decided to use them for advertising. Soon cards were manufactured with images players on the front, and advertisements on the back. These cards were produced as sets to encourage people to purchase more cigarettes and thus collect the entire series.
Each set of cards typically consisted of 25 or 50 related subjects. Popular themes included celebrities, athletes, nature, and scenic images. With the onset of World War II in 1940, manufacturers ceased tobacco card production in order to save paper. While some companies attempted to reintroduce cigarette cards in the 1950s, they never regained their original popularity.
Collectors have been known to spend thousands of dollars for rare cards depicting vintage ball players such as Honus Wagner and Ty Cobb. However, more common cards are more affordable to the casual enthusiast. The PAST Antiques Marketplace has an assortment of cigarette cards for purchase. Visit us and pick out one or two or a complete set!