Movie Collector Cards

The first documented cigarette card was issued in 1879, before movies even began. The idea of inserting a card in a cigarette package quickly caught on and there were thousands of sets issued around the world from the 1880s through about 1940. These cards pictured every conceivable subject, from sporting figures to politicians to subjects such as animals, flags, and world scenes. Even before movies there were cigarette cards picturing stage actors and actresses.

Conrad Veidt has appeared on his share of movie cards. A selection is presented here.

The front of each of the movie cards below is shown actual size. The back of each card has been enlarged to be easier to read. You will note that some of the cards present incorrect information - saying that Veidt was born in 1894; in Potsdam; the son of a doctor. For comment on this, go to Notes.

Click here for seven more Veidt cigarette cards.

In 1940 World War II stopped cigarette cards cold, as they were deemed a non-essential item and a waste of valuable paper. They never really started up again after the war, although there were a few sets issued here and there.

In the United States, cigarette cards ended in about 1912, though there were a few issues after that. Because of this, there are very few U.S. movie star cigarette card sets. The U.S. movie star cards that were issued came with a variety of products, mostly candy and gum items. U.S. cards were also issued through weighing machines and Exhibit machines.

Cigarette cards were very popular in England in the 1920s and 1930s, with thousands of sets issued. Movie stars were a very popular subject, and the British cigarette cards documented these movie stars from the very beginnings of motion pictures. These old cards now form a historical record of the pioneers in the movie business.

A surprisingly large number of these old cigarette cards survive in nice condition. This is probably due to the large number of collectors who pursued these beautiful cards when they were issued. It is also due to the fact that British card collecting became an organized hobby long before card collecting gained popularity in the United States. There were British firms in the card selling business as far back as the early 1930s, and these companies helped preserve the supply and condition of many of these sets as they stocked them for their customers.

The pictures above are from the collection of Barbara Peterson. Go to the Movie Card Website if you'd like to start your own collection of movie cards.

Click here for seven more Veidt cigarette cards.

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