30 November 2020

Gallaher

The business was originally founded in 1857 by Tom Gallaher and by 1896 in Belfast he had opened the biggest tobacco factory in the world. The company is still operating today although it has been taken over by Japan Tobacco, in its time it has had such famous brands such as Benson & Hedges, Silk Cut and Hamlet to its name.

In 1897 they issued their first set of cigarette cards but it took another 13 years (1910) before the first football cigarette card set was released, called “Football Club Colours” it featured 100 of the eras top players. These are now extremely rare and full sets can cost upwards of £700 !!!

                                                                  “Gallaher Football Club Colours”

A gap of 15 years then ensued before another series of football related cards was released in 1925, again 100 cigarette cards were in a set called “Famous Footballers”.

                                                   “Gallaher Famous Footballers”

The following year brought another new set, again called “Famous Footballers”, this time though there was only 50 in the set. To distinguish between the two the 1925 set had green backs while the 1926 had brown.

                                                    “Gallaher Famous Footballers”

Gallaher then changed the format of their football related cigarette cards and in 1928 issued a set of 50 hand painted action scenes from football matches, these though are very rare, in fact we have only ever seen the one and that is card number 29 – Arsenal meet King George V at the Cup Final.

                                              “Gallaher Footballers In Action”

Gallahers final football cigarette card series “Footballers” was also released in 1928, unusually it had two distinct formats, cards 1 to 50 were action pictures involving fixtures such as Darlington v Bradford PA, Leeds Utd v Port Vale etc while cards 51 to 100 reverted back to the standard head and shoulder shots. Incidentally in keeping with Gallahers earlier use of different coloured backs to dstinguish sets these were red. 

                                                                              “Gallaher Footballers” 

It should also be noted that some guides suggest this set was issued in 1925, however closer examination of the fixtures portrayed on the cards show that it must be 1928, for example card number 46 is Swansea v Man City, records show that these two clubs hadnt met each other prior to 1927 so its impossible for the 1925 date to be correct !!