In 1933 and 1934, my gran collected and saved a boxful of embroidered silk flower cards issued by Kensitas. Each cigarette pack that she purchased contained a small card that opened up to reveal gorgeous woven silk flowers.
The photo to the left shows one of the cards cut in two (I didn't do it!) The cards actually look like those at the bottom of this post: little booklets that open up to reveal the flower on the right and a lovely poetic description on the left.
These were the last silk cigarette card flowers that came in an outer protective folder, so I feel very lucky to have them. My gran collected them and gave them to my mother, who saved them and gave them to me, who framed them and hung them next to my desk.
This little booklet holds and displays the flowers. Isn't it cute?
People all over the world collect and trade cigarette cards; in fact, cigarette card collecting has a name: cartophily. Who knew? British cigarette manufacturers created some of the most fascinating and beautiful cards, including lots of gorgeous flower sets.
The cards started out as practical—in the 1800s cigarette manufacturers inserted cardboard "stiffeners" into cigarette packets to help reinforce and protect the contents. Some enterprising individual came up with the idea of using the cards as a marketing tools: enticing customers to buy more cigarettes in order to collect the whole series. Very clever actually.