A Smoking Gun

How To Swim  vintage cigarette card courtesy of NYPL Digital Gallery

Mrs. Easton, a blog of curiosities by industrial designer Melissa Easton, recently posted some images of vintage cigarette cards in honour of the Summer Olympics. These beautifully illustrated cards immediately captured me and I began to start a rigorous online search into the history of these magical pieces of paper.

According to the all-knowing Wikipedia, these cards were first issued by tobacco companies in the late 1800's and often featured actresses, athletes, and sometimes advertising for the cigarettes themselves. Eventually, the cards were released in collector sets of 20 to 50 cards depicting themes such as "Ships and Sailors."

How To Hold Pets  vintage cigarette card courtesy of NYPL Digital Gallery
Ultimately, the cards were discontinued in order to save paper during the war and they never really made a return. Although I don't condone smoking, I think that these collector cards should make a comeback in another form...perhaps with boxes of tea or mini tissue packs. Either way, I'd be happy to own a few of these beauts for myself.


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