We’ve hit the mother lode, thanks to KCKRS reader Kristine, and now have a vast image collection of early 20th century English cigarette cards at our disposal. To start you off, we thought we’d share a few of the best team-centric cards (as opposed to the individual player versions) featuring illustrations of club mascots.
Cigarette cards were the first trading cards, issued by tobacco companies in packs of cigarettes as early as the 1870s. The most famous example of a cigarette card is the Honus Wagner American Tobacco Company card that sold for a record $2.8 million in 2007. English companies began issuing football-themed series in the 1880s.
We’re not clear on the actual year of these cards, but they’re definitely from the pre-WWII era.