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Cartophilic Society of New Zealand Inc

The Hobby



Card collecting has been a hobby enjoyed by people around the world for over 120 years.  At some stage, most products have included some type of give-away card set to collect, with a wide rnage of topics to choose from.  New Zealand is no different, with cards given away with various food products, petrol stations, sports teams and even movie theatres. 


Because there have been a variety of cards and themes to collect, most collectors break the types of cards into three main areas, which are outlined below.  The New Zealand card club includes members who collect some, or all of these types of cards.


Cigarette Cards

For many older collectors, card collecting revolved around collecting "cigarette cards". It was at its peak in New Zealand around the mid-1920s and continued for about 15 years. The small pictures of ships, trains, motorcars, animals, sportsmen and women, flags, soldiers and many other subjects were given away - one card in each packet of cigarettes, cigars and tobacco. At some stage, most New Zealand household had a Three Castles album full of cigarette cards. 

Although initially intended as advertising the various brands of cigarettes and therefore directed at smokers, the cards were quickly seized upon by the children of the time. And it is because of the efforts of so many young collectors from that era, that large quantities of cigarette cards have survived in a variety of albums, books, bundles and forgotten shoe boxes. Cigarette card were issued around the world and it is now recognised as a major hobby (especially in England).

Bonzo Dogs


Trade Cards

NZ Treasury of the Years #440

Although Trade Cards appeared before cigarette cards, their popularity with collectors has developed over the past few decades.

The 2nd World War brought about the virtual disappearance of cigarette cards.  In the 1950s, the absence of cards with cigarettes encouraged manufacturers of other commodities to produce a continuing supply of alternative material, such as gum cards, tea cards and cereal cards.

One of the most prolific and famous issuers of cereal cards in New Zealand has been Sanitarium; who since 1941 have produced more than 100 card series covering a wide range of subjects and are mostly inexpensive to collect.


Trading Cards

Since the late 1980s/early 1990s, trading cards (cards usually sold at a fixed price in packets and not given away with a product) have made a large impact with many collectors.

There have been of hundred issues from America (typically promoting the latest movie or tv show) and a few from Australia and New Zealand over the years.  Thess types of cards often have special chase or rare insert cards as part of the series, which are produced in limited numbers and inserted in only a few packets.