Early Cigarette Cards
Stiff cards were inserted into fragile packets of cigarettes in the 19th century to prevent them from crushing. The cigarette card evolved from the idea of printing an advertisement on this "stiffener" card. It is difficult to pinpoint exactly when the first cigarette card was issued since records are sparse. The earliest cigarette card to be positively dated depicts a picture of the Marquis of Lorne. This card was issued in packets of cigarettes of the same name. A journal and advertisement, dated 1879, make reference to this.
In 1976, Mr Edward Wharton-Tiger discovered an American cigar card issued by R.C. Brown, the picture of which depicted a gentleman holding a card dated 1877.
R.C. Brown card thought to be one of the earliest known "tobacco insert cards", 1877-1879