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 range of topics to choose from. New Zealand is no different, with cards given away with various food products, at 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 four main areas, which are outlined below. The New Zealand card club includes members who collect some, or all of these types of 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 households 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).
Although Trade Cards appeared before cigarette cards, their popularity with collectors has really 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.
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 around the world.
There have been thousands of issues from America (typically promoting sports or the latest movie/tv show) and a few from Australia and New Zealand over the years. These 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.
Gaming cards such as Pokemon and Magic the Gathering are relatively new to the card collecting scene compared with other types of collectable cards.
They began in the 1990s and now have huge global followings. Unlike traditional collector cards, these can be both collected and used for gaming purposes. These types of cards are also now experiencing a cross-over with trade cards, such as the Weetbix All Blacks Stat Attack cards.