A full set of all 48 Gallaher's Butterflies and Moths cigarette cards, sympathetically framed so both sides of each card can be seen. We believe this is the original 1938 cards (from comparison to other sets), although the framing is later, but we cannot be 100% sure. Frame size: 53 x 43cm.
A mighty fine bunch of flutterbies!
Gallahers was established in Derry in 1857 and rapidly expanded to become the largest tobacco factory in the world. It held a Royal Warrant for 122 years. The Gallaher group was taken over by Japan Tobacco in 2007.
The 1930s were the golden age of cigarette card collecting, when new technologies of lithography and the growth of consumer culture enabled the cigarette card market to grow on a mass scale. Commercial changes introduced new themes which played much more directly to the notion of glamour and celebrity through illustrations of film stars. Sport, however, especially football, cricket and golf, remained very popular, reflecting the early dominance of men as smokers. The print-runs of football cards could run into millions.
Children and adults collected themed sets, which were available to buy from local tobacconists. Major companies ran their own studios entirely focused on the production of cigarette cards. 2,000 sets were created by 100 manufacturers in the 1920s and 1930s and collecting became so popular that the London Cigarette Card Company established a magazine specifically for more serious collectors in 1933, called the Cigarette Card News.