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Disclaimer: Die hier gezeigten Abbildungen aus der Zeit des "Dritten Reiches", u.a. mit dem damals obligatorischen "Hakenkreuz", dienen der Berichterstattung über Vorgänge des Zeitgeschehens, der staatsbürgerlichen Aufklärung sowie Forschung und Lehre (§ 86a, 86 StGB)

A Basic History of Cigarette Card Collecting

   The collecting of cigarette cards ( it should be noted that trading cards were also offered by the producers of other products, margarine for example ) started in the time of Kaiser Wilhelm II and the early practice was to print the pictures directly onto the packaging and the collector would then cut them out.

   Albums containing these early pictures are very collectable and a complete album can demand very high prices. I say pictures because it was only later that card was used. The cards being inside the packaging from then on.

   The Germans by the 1930s went a stage further and added coupons to the products, which could then be collected and sent of to an address on the packet and by return of post, one would recieve an envelope containing a set of pictures or cards, which could be oversized. This allowed for pictures much bigger than the original packaging could hope to contain. An example of this are the very large pictures seen in the Olympia 1936 album set.

   It should be noted that in the UK it is required by most collectors that the cards and albums remain in a mint or unused condition. However, this is not the case in Germany and German collectors are quite happy to obtain the albums with all the cards already glued in place.

   A wooden box containing some of my loose cigarette pictures

   At the bottom of the picture it says: As before, with coupon and uniform card

   The third Reich carred out an active non-smoking campaign and many firms allied to NSDAP formations or produced patriotic collecting cards to stay in favour with the N.S. government.

   An evelope containing pictures for the cigarette albums. Exchanging coupons for pictures allowed one to complete an album, which may otherwise have remained unfinished.

The reverse side of the same envelope

   "The Greats of World History" is typical of the albums and themes covered in the 1930s, a national awareness to install once again German national pride after the crushing defeats of World War One and the Treaty of Versailles of 1919.

   Another well used theme was the National Socialist rise to power and the justification of staying in power. Many of the albums hark back to this and it will be a subject covered over the next few months.

   Perhaps some of the most searched after albums are from the early war years. I say early war years  because by 1940 war shortages made further collecting almost impossible. "Raubstaat England" which refers England to a "Pirate Power", was one of the last wartime album collecting card sets, produced in 1941. Coupons could still be exchanged for pictures whilst stocks lasted and the last of these were sent out during 1943.

   The aim of the albums were to bring good quality picture books to the masses at an affordable price, during a time when books were expensive. It was also a way of bringing State propaganda into the peoples homes. Of course it also went a huge way in selling cigarettes and other products to the collecting masses.

   After the Second World War there was a renewed attempt to produce collecting cards, but it never really took off. By 1955 it was all over, with one last set being issued in 1956.