‘Pinnace’ cards were released in three sizes: the small K-sized cards featured in this blog …
… the medium-sized card …
… and the postcard-sized card.
The small cards are very easy to track down, albeit not all of them; the medium ones are far harder to locate, and the postcard ones are like hen’s teeth – nigh on impossible to find, especially if you are looking for specific teams (like I am!)
The backs of the K-sized cards all tell us that in exchange for 25 of them you would receive a ‘Cabinet photo’ of one of the series of footballers and cricketers. or for 100 you could trade up for a League Team group, although no size was specified and I know that these are very much the Holy Grail of ‘Pinnace’ collectors.
In August 2016 a large framed display of WBA ‘medium’ cards (see below) went to auction in Birmingham and the surrounding text on this confirmed that you could also get these cards in boxes of 50 and 100 cigarettes.
The backs of those medium cards state that you could also exchange them too for a ‘Cabinet sized photograph’ – five were needed for the deal – which clearly suggests that the big postcard-sized item was the Cabinet issue. And just for the sake of completeness, these very large cards have a blank back.
So anyway, what’s the difference between the three, other than the size? Well, if you look closely at the three Billy Smith cards that I have presented you will see that there is clearly more detail the bigger the cards become, so that by the time we reach the biggest photograph we can see his hands and arms folded. In other examples this meant that the club badge – if worn – was more clearly visible.
UPDATE: Where did the ‘medium’ cards come from?
I’ve been in touch with Derek Jenkins about this, and here is his response …
“An attempt to answer your query – it is amazing that, with all the cards identified with The Pinnace Series (whether so identified correctly or not) there is so little information available. Anyway, here goes: I think that the Medium Sized were issued with boxes of cigarettes being one for a box of 25 and two for a box of 50. There may have been a box of 100 but I cannot confirm this*. I can confirm that I have a 25 box and it is labelled “Pinnace”. You have to remember that cigarettes between the wars were relatively cheap and it would not be uncommon for a Middle Class gentleman to have an opened box on a table in his house to which a visitor or any member of the household could help himself.”
*I have since discovered that there were indeed boxes of 50 and 100 (see framed item photograph above)
So, nobody really knows. Theories will abound forever until proof positive arrives and that may be a long time coming!