Collector Cards

Army Corps and Divisional Signs

John Player & Sons Cigarette Company released a series of collectors cards titled "Army Corps & Divisional Signs 1914-1918." Originally there were only 50 in the series, but two more sets were released. In total, there are 107 in the collection.

For bubble gum card collectors

Most children were interested in collecting the bubble gum cards, rather than in saving the packaging - which is also an interesting example of contemporary graphic art.

Badges of the Canadian Expeditionary Force

Children who had no access to actual military badges could collect cards of the badges instead.

Collecting cards from cocoa

Children who collected these cards could trade them, or use them to learn semaphore or as a bookmark.

The Empire's Roll of Valour

This keepsake was published after the First World War by a children's magazine, and gave youngsters a place to keep souvenir cards picturing such subjects as the Battle of Vimy Ridge and Victoria Cross-winners Billy Bishop and Tom Dinesen.

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Fighting ships of the world

Like other sets in the Fighting Forces series (and the World in Arms series on which it was based), this one featured naval vessels from Allied as well as enemy fleets: US battleship "Mississippi"; French battleship "Dunkerque"; British torpedo boat "Hornet"; Japanese destroyer "Fubuki"; Italian cruiser "Zara"; German submarine; US heavy cruiser "Indianapolis"; Spanish cruiser "Canarias"; motor torpedo boat; Japanese aircraft carrier "Akagi"; British battleship "Rodney"; Italian M.A.S. boat.

Miscellaneous weapons

A separate section of the Fighting Forces gum card series (and the American World in Arms series on which it was based) was reserved for a hodge-podge of different weapons: Flame Throwers; British Death-dealing Balloon Barrage; Landing Russian "Air Infantry"; The New Garand Automatic Rifle; British Portable Steel Air Raid Shelter; Gas Raid Rescue Squad; Stream of Torpedoes; Devastating Martin-Barlow Aerial Bomb.

The "iron cavalry"

The manufacturers of the Fighting Forces gum card series, and the American World in Arms series on which it was based, applied the quaint term "iron cavalry" to the new mobile warfare.

Artillery pieces in action

Issued in 1939 using artwork from the American World in Arms series, the Fighting Forces gum card series was printed in Canada with a bilingual element added.

The fortifications of war

Issued in 1939 using artwork from the American World in Arms series, the bilingual Fighting Forces series offered young card collectors a wide range of subjects, including military fortifications.

Allied aircraft gum cards

These gum cards probably went into production very early in the Second World War - many of the airplanes featured had been removed service as obsolete by 1940, while others would eventually go through many variants: Republic Guardsman; Vickers Wellesley; Armstrong-Whitworth Whitley; Northrop 8A; Vought V-143; Supermarine Seagull V; Bell VFM-1; Curtiss Hawk III; Short Singapore III; Caudron C-670; Supermarine Stranraer; Lockheed Electra 10E; Sikorsky S-43; Boeing Stratoliner; Curtiss Y1A-18; Hanrive 510; Fairey FC; Grumann Midwing; Douglas TBD-1; North American Harvard; Northrop N-3; Saunders-Roe Lerwick; Vought-Sikorsky F4U; Cessna AT-A.

Airplanes with breakfast

These cards were distributed in packages of Toasted Prairie Nuts, Toasted Rice Nuts, and Bracer cereal.

Snacks, ships and airplanes

These cards were distributed during the Second World War in packages of Golden Saratoga potato chips.

Chips and airplanes

Distributed with potato chips as a product premium during the Second World War, these cards depicted famous Allied aircraft: Hawker Hurricane: Supermarine Spitfire; Bristol Blenheim IV; Blackburn Skua; Curtiss P-40 Tomahawk; Bell Airacobra; Lockheed B-14 Hudson; North American NA-73; Bristol Beaufort; Sunderland Flying Boat; Avro Anson; Fairey Swordfish; Blackburn Roc; Consolidated B-24; Douglas DB-7 Boston; Vickers-Armstrong Wellington; Armstrong-Whitworth Whitley IV; North American Harvard; Westland Lysander; Vickers-Armstrong Stranraer; Lockheed P-38; Fairey Battle; Boeing B-17E; Brewster Buffalo; Grumann XF4F-1; Consolidated model 28; Martin 167; Fleet model 60; Miles Master.

Modern War Weapons series – Sweet Caporal Cigarettes

This First World War cigarette card illustrates the technology of the underwater anti-ship mine.

Decorations and ranks

These Second World War collector cards, distributed by Toronto candy maker Robertson Brothers, showed military honours and rank insignia: Order of St Michael and St George; Royal Red Cross; South African Medal; Conspicuous Gallantry Medal; Naval General Service Medal; Order of the British Empire; Distinguished Flying Cross; Long Service and Good Conduct Medal; Croix de Guerre; British Victory Medal; Medal for Distinguished Conduct in the Field; Distinguished Flying Medal; Order of Merit; Air Force Cross; Distinguished Service Medal.

Marine Bubble Gum series

This Second World War bubble gum card series showing Allied naval vessels was distributed before May 1941, when HMS Hood was sunk in the Atlantic Ocean: HMS Warspite; HMS Jersey; HMIS Hindustan; HMS Illustrious; HMS Aurora; HMS Erebus; HMS Wolfhound; HMS Barham; HMS Belfast; HMS Hood; HMS Penelope; HMAS Adelaide; HMCS St Laurent; HMS Hawkins; HMCS Saguenay; HMS Faulknor; HMS Emerald; HMS Witch.

First World War cigarette card

This First World War cigarette card featured King George V as a leader of the Allied war effort.

Empire Defenders series

This Second World War cigarette card shows soldiers digging in under enemy fire.