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10:11am on Sunday, 9th January, 2011:

An Album of Film Stars


Last year, which is to say a couple of weeks ago, I posted about a card game called Jigstar that features 1930s film stars. There were two I didn't recognise, one of whom turned out to be Ginger Rogers and the other of whom turned out to be, well, he hasn't turned out to be anyone yet...

Anyway, following on from this my dad sent me an album of cigarette cards that used to belong to his dad: An Album of Film Stars. The album itself is showing its age, bu the cards inside are pristine. Here's the entry for Ginger Rogers:

So, Ginger was short for Virginia? That (and black-and-white movies) would explain why her hair wasn't ginger, except here it is ginger.

This is actually from the second series of An Album of Film Stars. I've looked through them both, but couldn't find anyone who looked like the mystery Jigstar. It's from the same period, because Charles Laughton is in there as Henry VIII.

I knew my grandad collected matchbox labels — I have 26,000 of them in my attic — but I didn't know he collected cigarette cards. Maybe he gave up on those to concentrate on the matchboxes? There are 50 cards in each album, and my dad sent me four albums (I'll blog the other two some other time), so he must have smoked 200 packs to get those (assuming someone with whom to swap the doubles). Lots of people collected cigarette cards, but not many collected matchbox labels and people would throw matchboxes away; this meant my grandfather didn't need to smoke (average number of matches in a matchbox: about 30) 30*26,000=780,000 cigarettes to get his matchbox collection, which is probably just as well because at 20 a day it would have taken him over a hundred years. Besides, he used a lighter.

Before you think that these 80-year-old cards must be worth a fortune, the winning bid for a set on eBay ending 28th December, 2010 was £2.22.

It seems lots of people used to smoke back then...

Referenced by A Puzzle Solved.

Referenced by Good Night.

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Copyright © 2011 Richard Bartle (richard@mud.co.uk).