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In 1875, the Allen and Ginter Tobacco Company started producing cigarette cards. These chromolithographs, printed on card stock, depicted a wide range of subjects from celebrities and historical figures to animals and plants. By 1877, the phenomenon had come to the U.K. when W.D. and H.O. Wills began printing similar collectible cards. These precursors to “bubble gum” and “baseball cards” were a nifty marketing gimmick, and, soon, people all over the world were collecting them.
In the last year, I’ve amassed a rather sizeable collection of antique cigarette cards—most of which you’ve seen on this site, and mostly relating to the British Royal Family. However, every now and then, there’s one which just stands out. For obvious reasons, this Player’s Cigarette card is a favorite.
The front of the card depicts a jaunty West Highland White Terrier—some ancestor of my Bertie. He is labeled as what he is, and, is engaged in the sort of earth sport which terriers enjoy.
The reverse of the card, from a series showcasing handsome canines, reads:
A SERIES OF 50
West Highland White
White Scottish Terriers have
Been carefully bred by the
Malcolm family at Poltalloch
for a hundred years or more,
and the modern West Highland
White Terrier has been evolved
from that game and “varmint”
old stock. They are very closely
related to the Cairn Terrier,
differing only in colour and
being slightly larger. They
should have harsh coats about
2 ins. Long and be pure white in
colour, any other colour being
strongly objected to. Weight:
dogs, 17 lbs., bitches, 16 lbs.
Height at shoulder 9 to 11 ins.
JOHN PLAYER & SONS
BRANCH OF THE IMPERIAL TOBACCO Co.
(OF GREAT BRITAIN & IRELAND) Ltd.