Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Pick up two habits for the price of one!

If you are of a certain age, you may be aware that baseball and other collectible cards used to come in packages of bubble gum. Nowadays, the gum is usually absent, which is just as well as it was generally about as fresh and delicious as the card itself. However, did you know that from around 1875 until World War II (when the practice was discontinued to conserve paper for the war effort), cigarette manufacturers in the US and Europe usually included collectible cards in their packaging as well?

Subject matter included sports (baseball, golf, cycling, cricket, billiards), famous actors and actresses, bathing beauties, riddles, recipes, trivia, nature scenes and the list goes on and on. A very extensive collection can be found at the New York Public Library Online Digital Gallery.

I think there should be even more to this list (it seems to only go from about A-E. Can someone else figure out how to view the rest?

A deeper history on tobacco baseball cards, plus history of "the Mona Lisa" of card collecting, the 1909 Honus Wagner card and why it is so rare and expensive (one sold several years ago at over $1 million).

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