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A world record event on the cards.

Byline: Helen Bruce

A world record will be set this week when a Midland town hosts the biggest ever event devoted solely to the sale of cigarette and trade cards.

It is estimated that over a million cards will be on show, as more than 70 dealers from the UK and overseas converge on Stratford-upon-Avon for the National Cigarette Card Convention.

Exhibitors have been announced from countries including the US, Canada and France, and hundreds of collectors are expected from across the globe. Subjects covered by the cards provide an encyclopaedia of life in the first 40 years of this century.

Many collectors concentrate on themes such as golf, cricket, football, film stars, military uniforms, railways or royalty. And a special display is being staged this year featuring cards with a Shakespearean flavour.

The event has been organised by the Cartophilic Society of Great Britain, which has run since 1938 and currently has 23 branches with more than 1,100 members.

Cigarette cards were issued in this country from the mid 1880s until the start of the Second World War, when they were withdrawn to conserve paper stocks. Despite a number of isolated attempts they have never returned.

Trade cards were issued with commodities ranging from soap powders to liver pills, tea, chocolate and cereals.

Society vice president John Walton said the convention had not been held in the West Midlands for more than a decade, during which time it had doubled in size.

'In the 30s cartophily was second only to stamp collecting as a popular hobby,' he explained.

'During the 50s and early 60s it went into a gradual decline with the lack of new cards to collect, but in more recent times it has once again prospered with many new collectors who have never actually removed a card from a packet.'

The free event is being staged at the town's leisure centre, and will run from 1-6pm on Friday and 10am-4.30pm on Saturday.
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Publication:The Birmingham Post (England)
Date:Apr 24, 2002
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