New Acquisition: Aviation Trade Cards and Stamps

We are pleased to share with you a first look at some of our most recent acquisitions — several sets of aviation-themed trade cards and stamps. Most of these colorful cards and stamps were packaged with products such as breakfast cereal or cigarettes and date from the 1920s-1940. These items represent an exciting and interesting look at how aviation related to popular culture.

Aviation trade stamp albums from Tydol, Skelly, and Heinz

Aviation trade stamp albums from Tydol, Skelly, and Heinz (click to enlarge)

Among the stamp albums included are: Modern Aviation and Famous Air Pilots, distributed in the 1930s by the H. G. Heinz Company (bottom row, above); Captain Midnight’s Air Heroes published by Sklly Petroleum Company in 1938 (upper right, above); and Tydol Flying: A Stamp Album of American Aviation distributed by Tydol Gasoline Company in 1940 (upper left, shown open, above).

Heinz aviation albums, showing stamps

Heinz aviation albums, showing stamps (click to enlarge)

Captain Midnight's A Tribute to Heroes of the Air album, by Skelly

Captain Midnight’s A Tribute to Heroes of the Air album, by Skelly (click to enlarge)

One grouping of trade cards originated in Stuttgart, Germany, and advertises Lahusen’s Jod-Eisen-Lebertran, or “iodine-iron-liver oil,” some form of proprietary tonic or “cure-all.”

Lahusen's trade cards

Lahusen’s trade cards (click to enlarge)

More than 200 of the trade cards were originally sold inside packages of cigarettes, from tobacco companies such as Brown & Williamson (Louisville, Ky.); Player’s (England); Gallaher (Great Britain & Ireland); Carrera’s (England); and Wills’s by Imperial (Great Britain & Ireland).

On the front of the card, an airplane or aviator (depending on the card series) is featured, and the back of the card features additional information about the person or plane featured on the front, as well as an advertisement for the tobacco company. In some cases, the information was printed in a bound album, to which the cards could be affixed (similarly to the above-mentioned stamp albums).

Album of Modern American Airplanes trade card album, by Wings cigarettes (ca. 1935)

Album of Modern American Airplanes trade card album, by Wings cigarettes (ca. 1935) (click to enlarge)

Front and back of a Wills's trade card (ca. 1935)

Front and back of a Wills’s trade card (ca. 1935) (click to enlarge)

Trade card featuring Orville Wright, from the Carrera's Famous Aviators trade card series

Trade card featuring Orville Wright, from the Carrera’s Famous Aviators trade card series

We hope to have these materials processed and ready for researchers soon!

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