George Wilson, a long time friend, stopped by PRC recently. When we purchased the club in 1995, George presented the attractive framed collection of tennis cigarette trading cards to be displayed in the lobby.
The history of cigarette trading cards is very interesting. The first cigarette packets were very fragile and so a thick card was inserted to stiffen them. During a period considered by many to be one of the most innovative in the history of mankind, an enterprising US businessman decided to print a colorful advertisement on the “stiffener” card. The tireless evolution of the cigarette card was driven by the highly competitive and creative tobacco markets. Soon cards were issued on subjects appealing to smokers, such as glamorous actresses, sport, warships etc. Firms soon realized that they could strengthen customer loyalty by issuing sets of beautifully illustrated and informative cards.Initially, there were many small independent tobacco firms who issued cigarette cards but, as in many situations, a small group of powerful tobacco firms gradually emerged, striving for mass production and cost cutting. The cigarette card era came to a sudden end at the beginning of WWII, due to severe paper rationing.
Tennis trading cards have been a part of the niche market. Leaf Trading Cards is the current producer of licensed tennis cards, and they use stars of today like Rafa Nadal and Roger Federer. Leaf purchased a portion of Ace Authentic, who had previously been the lone tennis card maker for many years.
Take a field trip to the PRC lobby and enjoy a colorful display of tennis professionals of yesteryear.