Collecting Rare Books and First Editions - Pop-up Cigarette Cards
As aficionados of both miniature and movable books, we were drawn to these small, pop-up cigarette cards depicting famous British landmarks. Twenty-four different cards were distributed with packages of Herbert Tareyton cigarettes as a promotional premium, encouraging the purchaser to collect them all. Among the landmarks included are Buckingham Palace, Canterbury Cathedral, Covent Garden Theatre, Scotland Yard, Windsor Castle, and the Houses of Parliament.
Although Herbert Tareyton was an American cigarette brand, their marketing image and mascot, a dapper, monocle-wearing spokesman known as "Dude," was meant to seem British and aristocratic. The subject matter of these cigarette cards served to enhance this association.
Cigarette packages of the 19th century commonly included a small cardboard insert to stiffen the container. Inspired by printed trade cards and the advent of chromolithography in the late 1870s, James Buchanan Duke, of W. Duke & Sons in Durham, was the first to see the advertising potential of these cards. On one side of the cards, he printed the brand information, and on the other side was an image, designed to be part of a collectible series. These sets came to include a diverse variety of subjects, including actors and actresses, sports stars, landmarks, and plants and animals. Most cigarette cards were inexpensively printed, but a few were presented in more deluxe formats. Some were actual silver gelatin photographs, while others were printed silk fabric or had pop-up elements, such as this set.
Published in 1939, during the height of cigarette card popularity, the cards included in this set are housed within their original envelopes, which are printed with the Tareyton name, mascot, and slogan on one side, and a description of the landmark on the reverse. The pop-up images show the famous buildings in the background with action scenes in the landscape's foreground. All are chromolithographed using bright colors.
The slogan for Herbert Tareyton cigarettes was "There's something about them you'll like," and the same is true of these pop-up cards. With their eye-catching colors, recognizable subject locations, and miniature size, they have something appealing for everyone.
For more information about cigarette cards, and to view an extensive online exhibit, please visit the links below, and as always, thank you for reading.
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Posted on Books@Bromer. The article is presented here by permission of the author. Pictures: Bromer Booksellers