John Player and Sons' Album of Motor Cars
- John Player and Sons
'An Album of Motor Cars' book of cigarette cards produced by John Player and Sons in 1936. The book cover is illustrated in dark blue and yellow with a car in a rural scene below a cartouche containing the title. A complete set of cards, each featuring a different car, is pasted into the pages, accompanied by text and illustrations. The owner's name - Ian Hopkins - is hand-written on the front cover (another unsigned collection of the same cards is also in the collection 2017-182).
Cigarette cards were originally produced to protect cigarettes within their boxes, but soon developed into tiny collectible artworks used to encourage buyer loyalty. First produced in the UK by W D and H O Wills Limited in 1887 by the 1930s, cigarette cards were hugely popular collectibles, analogous to the small toys offered in boxes of cereals in the 1990s. Cigarette companies rapidly started to produce albums or books that allowed a collector to store a set of cards in a structured format alongside short information on their subjects. These subjects depicted on cigarette cards were hugely diverse, from film stars to fish, offering a snapshot of attitudes to these subjects at the time, as well as which were considered appealing to buyers.
This is one of a group of seven books of cigarette cards collected by brothers Ian and Robert Hopkins in the 1930s and 40s in Shepperton, Surrey. The cards were compensation for regularly making the trip to buy their father’s cigarettes. They therefore combine social histories of smoking with small collectible prints aimed particularly at families and children, with subjects ranging from motor cars, railways and cycling to radio celebrities and film stars.