In the late 1800's, tobacco companies, among others, inserted cards into cigerette packages. They also tried "silks" small silk banners
This is for sale on Bonanzle here ZIRA TOBACCO SILK
and Felts..many of which were flags of different countries - I've seen whole quilts and blankets made of these
This felt flag, from a series produced for tobacco tins I believe is for sale on Bonanzle here - French Flag
In 1894, James Duke, effectively eliminated ALL of his competition by patenting the "cigerette making machine" and strangling his competition (He owned American Tobacco company) in the tobacco industry with the resulting demise of many card producers.
In 1908, he once again began distributing cards in cigarette packages but from there was incredible variety in the cards available. In 1911 the Government busted up Duke's cartel and once again, when he disappeared so did many of the trading cards. BUT candy and gum companies stepped into the breech.
In the 1930's Goudey revived the "quality" card in trading cards putting it in a pack of bubble gum. But by World War 2, they'd been left in the dust by GUM maker of the Horrors of War cards I'm going to post some pictures of and links to next.
No one had ever seen a set quite like The Horrors Of War cards when they debuted. The art work alone was sensationalism and graphic, so intricate and the headlines or titles so topical that it was so successful, they issued 288 cards.
The 3 most prized cards, are also the hardest to find, the Hitler cards.
The Horrors of War were torn from the headlines of the time - the Spanish Civil war occurred between 1936 and 1939 - many of the cards in the set refer to battles, events or atrocities that occurred during it.
Other cards referred to the 2nd Sino Japanese war which occurred between 1937 and 1941 and which eventually blended into World War II.
Look at some of these: 4 Horrors of War Cards including #1
The headlines on that group include 1 Marco Polo Bridge is Scene of First Fighting =Slightly rounded corners and back has some slight yellowing.
5 Chinese Pursuers Shoot Down Jap Planes - corners are slightly rounded but the back is still very clean and the color is bright.
2 - Chinese "Big Sword" Corps Resists Jap Forces - rounded corners, worn edges, yellowed back and corner crease on the upper right corner of the front that runs thru the airplane on the right (the red one) down thru the neck of the man with the sword to the edge. - there is another small crease at the tip of the corner as well.
6 Suicide Squad of Japs is Blasted at Woosung - the corners and edges are a bit soft (not horrible) and the back is yellowed but over all VG condition.
For 38 more auctions of Horrors of War, please visit my other id on eBay - Superjunk - click this line to go straight there HORRORS OF WAR
Toffee Cards: The Tobacco Years
The Price Guide to Golf Cards Part 1; Tobacco Cards
Cigarette card cavalcade: Including a short history of tobacco
Combo Magazine #8 (Latest News & Prices for Comics & Non Sports Cards)
Pokemon Collector's Value Guide: Secondary Market Price Guide and Collector Handbook (Collector's Value Guides)
The 3 Stooges (Non-Sports Trading Card) #42
Previous blog posts on the same topic:
Trading Cards did not start with Pokemon!