An introduction

Welcome to the antiquated world of footballers with soup-strainer moustaches, goalkeepers in flat caps and turtle-neck jumpers, international players proudly displaying their caps and players in their Sunday best clothes, raincoats and trilby hats. No long-haired layabouts, horrendous ‘mullets’ or aggressively shaven heads to be seen here; no sponsors splashed across the front of these heroes’ shirts – in fact you’d be hard-pressed to spot as much as even a club badge on most of these chaps! These are the honest, hard-tackling footballers of the early 1920s, when football was a man’s game using a leather ball with laces that dented your forehead and the only people wearing coloured boots were women. Welcome to the world of the cigarette card footballer!

In the very early 1920s, the Godfrey Phillips tobacco company produced a series of cards to stiffen up the packets of their cigarettes. In the first print run there were initially 400 cards, but this rose to over 2400 by 1924 and if you were to count all the different varieties of cards, both error and team changes, there amounts to well over 3000! Add to this the fact that there were also five different backs then you set yourself a most formidable task if you were to try to collect them all. But then, I guess that’s why you’re here …

From the outset I need to stress that I am no expert; I am simply an enthusiastic collector with far too much time on my hands! When I began collecting there was no real source as to what was actually out there other than R. J. Spiller’s book ‘The Pinnace Collection’ which is now well out of print. I was greatly surprised to find that there wasn’t anything at all on the internet other than brief mentions on other websites, so I thought that there might just be a niche here …

If you would like to add comments to the pages I’ll respond as quickly as I am able, although I do still need to earn a living so I don’t spend all my waking hours at the keyboard; not yet, anyway …

PLEASE NOTE: The images that I present here are of the small, K-size cards; there are the medium and cabinet sized cards too, but it would be far too difficult to try to track them all down!


26 Responses to An introduction

  1. Alan Jenkins says:

    Always check the cards that don’t have the team name included on the front. Originally they came with the team name printed on a small label which was attached to the back of the card.

    I must admit I haven’t seen one of these cards for a long, long time. But I did see quite a few when I first started collecting football cards in the 1980s.

    An excellent site, I’ve bookmarked it and will return on a regular basis.

  2. Neil the Wire says:

    A cracking site. I love to see these ‘enthusiastic amateur’ pages, done for the love of their hobby, and the benefit of others – it’s what I aspire to myself one day, if I ever find the time! You should give an honourable nod to the fact that this range also contains rugby league footballers, as well as association boys (though the cards were from around the time RL was still known as the Northern Rugby Football Union, before the governing bod changed it’s name to the Rugby Football League). I’ve a number of Warrington cards (K size & medium) if you want copies to fill in the gaps where you’re missing some (they’re # c. 2097 – apparently ‘higher value’ ones you say, which is pleasing to hear 🙂 ) Keep up the good work.

    • TerriersFan says:

      Thanks for your input, Neil. It’s always good to hear from someone with a keen interest.
      As for the offer of scans, I’m going to politely decline. I bet that I could pretty much complete the site here if I used images that are on eBay or just generally on the ‘net, but I’m going to stick to my principles and only include those cards which I possess (team cards excepted).
      Thanks for the kind offer though! 😉

  3. Steve Slade says:

    May I compliment you on the work you have done on your website thus ensuring these cards wont be lost forever. Yesterday I bought a box full of Typhoo tea cards and Albums. At the bottom of the box carefully packaged where 60-70 of Pinnace K cards. The condition of most of them was mint!. Although a footy fan I dont envisage keeping hold of them and would be most willing to sell them on – do you do appraisals. Also included was a Cricketer?
    Kind regards


    • TerriersFan says:

      Hi Steve – thanks for the contact. No, I don’t do appraisals, but as a general rule of thumb you can apply a simple rule with these Pinnace cards. Those which are 1 -> 940, regardless of the type of ‘back’, tend to fetch a pound each, maybe a little more if you are lucky. Dealers will sell them at this price at fairs and lots of eBay sellers seem to think £1 (plus postage) is fair, although I usually sold my spares at 50p. Many collectors will refuse to pay more than £1 for the low numbered cards. There is also a school of thought that the Scots players are more valuable too, although in my experience they’re just as hard/easy to find as the regular English/Welsh/Irish players.
      Once you get over the 940 threshold, anything goes! Again, some you’ll pick up for around a £1 but there are others which dealers seem to think are worth nearly a fiver each! Just check eBay for evidence of this – daylight robbery unless it’s a card you really, really want. Rugby cards are the really tough ones to get as I don’t think that many have survived. As for cricketers, I can’t comment as they don’t fall within my sphere of purchasing. Again, eBay might be a good guide to value.
      In closing, condition is everything, so your mint cards sound nice but I wouldn’t plan on retiring on the proceeds! 🙂

      • Steve Slade says:

        Thanks for your feedback it was much appreciated.
        I came to you as eBay is very confusing in that the prices vary so much – but eBay it is.
        I’m scared if I keep them too long that I will get the bug and start trying to get the set which would ensure another part collection left in the loft.
        Kind regards

      • TerriersFan says:

        We’re all in the same boat, Steve. I’m told that certain cards are almost unavailable, so completion of the set is difficult, if not impossible. There are even people out there who look to have complete sets of every variety, i.e. all of the double-frame line backs; the brown oval set; the black oval set; address ‘Pinnace’ and address ‘Photo’. Good luck to them, say I – they will need lots of cash and equally lots of time! 🙂

    • Steve,
      as a newcomer to the site, did you ever sell your cards??

  4. Barbara Fearn says:

    Hi My name is Barbara Fearn and the gentleman on Pinnace Card 172 is my great grandfather, James Armstrong, who played for Portsmouth FC (1913 – 1922) and then for Sheffield Wednesday (hence why his photograph shows Sheffield Wednesday and him wearing a Pompey shirt). I am trying to obtain a copy of this card but as yet have no luck. I don’t suppose you have a spare or know where I may be able to obtain one. I have tried ebay and other auction sites to no avail.

    This is the first site I have found with some info about the Pinnace Cards, so thanks for putting it together.

    Many thanks for your help.

  5. FOOTBALLER 2009 says:

    Hiya. You forgot to list the (Glasgow) Rangers cards under ‘R’. 🙂
    Hope you have some … Best wishes | Mike 🙂

    • TerriersFan says:

      Thanks, Mike! You are perfectly correct. I had created the page but, for whatever reason (and I can’t explain it), I seemed to have forgotten to add it to the menu tree. All sorted now though! 🙂
      As an aside, this is just the kind of message that I need; I can’t usually see where the faults are, but people searching for specific teams or players are in the best position to let me know when something’s not quite right. So keep ’em coming! 😆

  6. FOOTBALLER 2009 says:

    Always glad to help out fantastic (football) people 🙂

  7. Colin says:

    Great site. Thanks for your efforts. I was researching a bunch of 9 Feath Rovers cards I bought a few years ago 2229-2241 missing 32,34,38 and 40. Just out of interest, where you have gaps in your set do you know which players/clubs are missing, or only by card number?
    I will certainly follow the site with interest

    • TerriersFan says:

      Hi Colin! Many thanks for your kind comments and I hope that you found what you were looking for. As regards the missing cards, I have the book THE PINNACE COLLECTION so I do indeed know what is missing but, as ever, the clubs of missing cards can include variations, so whilst I might suggest a particular card features Player A at Club X he may well also appear in the same kit on the same card number but for Club Y or even also for Club Z!! 🙂

  8. Melvin says:

    A truly amazing site and obviously a labour of love. Do you have any spares of Clapton Orient? That’s a magnificent team picture — which I had never seen before tonight! I have just come back from a weekend at the Somme, visiting the graves of three Clapton Orient players who lost their lives during WW1. A truly humbling experience. Kindest regards, Melvin

    • TerriersFan says:

      Hi Melvin!
      Glad that you like the site and especially the Clapton Orient elements. I’ve answered the queries from your now-edited comment above and hopefully you will have received a personal email by the time that you read this.

  9. Mark Jones says:

    Hi – a message for Melvin.
    I run a programme and footy memorabilia shop in Prestatyn, North Wales.
    I recently acquired an old album with some Pinnace cards in, all London clubs including 10 Clapton Orient.
    Get in touch if you want more details.
    There are only a handful of K size cards from most London sides – I was going to stick them on ebay as 99p job lots tomorrow.

  10. Mark,
    regarding your Pinnace cards, hope you don’t mind me asking, but if you want to sell them, I am prepared to buy them all, less the 10 C. Orient to Melvin, let me know if you wish to sell & for how much?

  11. Melvin says:

    Dear Mark & Alan, That really sounds good to me…. hope we can reach a deal. Please let me know your asking price. Kindest regards to you both, Melvin

  12. Keith says:

    I’ve just started collecting, initially it was just Dulwich Hamlet but after getting a few of the Nunhead cards, (a defunct club also local to me) I’ve decided to limit it to London clubs for the time being. Job lots do come up as I picked up about sixty Chelsea/MIllwall/Arsenal & Clapton Orient last night on ebay for around 60p each. LIke all cards collecting easy to start, difficult and costly later.

    • TerriersFan says:

      Welcome to the site and the hobby/curse that is collecting Pinnace cards, Keith!
      You’re dead right in what you say and, I might add, that as well becoming more expensive the more you get, the condition of cards becomes more expensive too. There’s an awful lot of crap out there which is described as “good for its age”!! 🙂

  13. Phil says:

    Hi All,
    Just found this site, and what a great site for information on the Pinnace cards.
    As a collector of Rochdale FC, I have a card G Wall No 231 Rochdale.
    Its not listed under Rochdale when I did a search for my club..
    Card No 231 G Wall is lised under Oldham and Hamilton tho
    Maybe this is a card to be added to the site

    • TerriersFan says:

      Righto, then Phil. Use the CONTACT form and I’ll provide you with an email to send the image. Will need to be a scan at 300dpi, please; photographs are never really good enough, I’m afraid.

  14. montyrocker says:

    Hi. I realise this relates to cricket but wonder if there is anybody who can help me identify one of the Pinnace cricket cards. It’s number 193. C, Staples of Nottinghamshire. There were two Staples brothers who both played for Notts, Arthur and Sam. They weren’t twins but in pictures I have found of them they look remarkably similar. Does anybody know? It would appear even Godfrey Phillips weren’t sure!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s