Guide to the Cigarette & Trade Card collection.




The cigarette and trade card collection (Approximately 6812 original cards; 1046 duplicate cards) consists of series of cards which were issued by cigarette companies, or other companies such as confectionery firms, cereal manufacturers and clothes companies.

Beginning with advertisement cards, cigarette and trade cards soon progressed to numbered series (ranging from 10 to 100 cards) on particular themes . Themes include scenes from war/war incidents, crests and badges, officers and VC winners, medals, aircraft, warships, uniforms and modern war weapons. Non-conflict subjects include cars, sports, butterflies, birds and flags. The collection is printed on either card, or silk (sometimes paper backed). Cards are stored by series in both folders and albums. The average size of a card is 360mm x 640mm, however this can range up to the size of a playing card. The series in the collection were all produced between 1900 and 1995. However some series, notably German ones produced in the 1930s, cover topics from as early as 1813, up to 1939. Features of the the collection included a series called Australian VCs and Officers, and cards featuring Australian Official War Photographs. SERIES 1: Unbound cards c1900s-1980s. Description: Consists of 97 series of which many are incomplete and held in plastic folders. The collection is arranged alphabetically by series name. SERIES 2: Album cards c1900s-1980s. Description: Consists of 22 series of miscellaneous collections in albums and German collections in their original albums. SERIES 3: Telephone Cards, 1995. Description: Consists of Telephone cards issued to commemorate the 50th Anniversary of the end of World War Two.

Cigarette and trade cards were a form of advertising card issued between the 19th century to the present day to promote goods or services. They were often distributed by merchants or enclosed with products such as bread, cigarettes, coffee and chocolate. Cards often bear the sellers or product name and a pictorial representation of the service or product. In other cases the picture may be unrelated to the product. Cigarette cards were also used as a form of propaganda as illustrated by the German Cigarette cards used to promote the virtues of the Third Reich and Raemaekers Cartoon series, based on anti-German propaganda cartoons drawn by Louis Raemaekers.

Contact Senior Curator, Published & Digitised Collections, Australian War Memorial.

Open - Contact Senior Curator, Published & Digitised Collections, Australian War Memorial.

Selected additional and related material available at using the search terms described under 'subject _local'. Copies of many items from the Memorial's collections may also be purchased @


20th century; Phone cards; Trade cards

Cigarette cards


Coverage Temporal



Related Collections


2012-05-30 23:40