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Tobacco dealer's trade cards, labels and wrappers

Collection Data

Illustrated cards advertising the wares of various tobacco merchants primarily of England, and also including French, Dutch and German issues. There are also examples of labels and wrappers, and other smoking related prints. The majority of the cards depict those devices or signs common to the trade: Indians, "blackamoors," tobacco rolls, and Scots Highlanders. Also included are images of the tobacco plant and processes of cultivation and trade, including sailing vessels; portraits of persons traditionally associated with tobacco, such as Sir Walter Raleigh; representations of historical events such as the Walpole Excise Bill and balloon ascensions of the late 18th century; decorative cards showing scrolls, figures, ornaments and devices, including heraldic devices; and convivial or facetious scenes including men drinking and smoking, "the man in the moon," and puns on tobacconists' names. Of less frequent occurrence are the cards with Cupids or Bacchus, Grand Turk, Masonic and Order of Bucks symbols, and cards that advertise other wares or professions than that associated with tobacco. Some cards include charades, anagrams, conundrums, or puzzles. Some include sententious or moral phrases and rhymes. The legends which most commonly occur are "Best under the sun," "Best Virginia," and "Sweet scented."
Daniel, George, 1789-1864 (Former owner)
Bragge, William, 1823-1884 (Former owner)
Gosden, Thomas, 1780-1843 (Former owner)
Hodgkin, John Eliot (Former owner)
Dates / Origin
Date Issued: 1725 - 1850 (Questionable)
Library locations
George Arents Collection
Shelf locator: Arents 1145
Advertising cards
Content: Works without merchant's name or legend numbered 1-58. Works with merchant's name or legends arranged alphabetically by name or legend, and numbered 1-37a, 37b-485.
Citation/reference: Arents, G. Tobacco 1145
Ownership: From the collections of Thomas Gosden, George Daniel, William Bragge and J. Eliot Hodgkin and George Arents, and later additions from various sources.
Language: Legends are in English, French, Dutch, German and Latin.
Statement of responsibility: Makers of prints mostly not known; engravers include William Hogarth and others.
Physical Description
Extent: 544 prints : engraving, etching, wood engraving, lithograph ; 5 x 5 cm. - 22 x 33 cm. 5 cm. - 22 x 33 cm. (folded to 15 cm.) on mounts approx. 29 x 22 cm.
Type of Resource
Still image
NYPL catalog ID (B-number): b12482883
Universal Unique Identifier (UUID): e07ce660-c618-012f-ee73-58d385a7bc34
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