Cigarette card, Cartophilic Society of Great Britain
The largest cigarette card collection on record is that of Edward Wharton-Tigar. His collection, bequeathed to the British Museum following his death in 1995, is recognised by the Guinness Book of Records as the largest collection of its kind. His autobiography, "Burning Bright", details both his obsession with collecting cigarette cards, as well as his business life, which included becoming President of Selection Trust - at the time, one of the largest mining companies in the world - as well as his lifelong passion for cricket, which culminated in his presidency of Kent Cricket Club. When asked what others thought of his collecting he said the following:
- ‘If to collect cigarette cards is a sign of eccentricity, how then will posterity judge one who amassed the biggest collection in the world? Frankly, I care not'.
He was the president of the Cartophilic Society of Great Britain until his death in 1995.
• The Face of Britain by Simon Schama, from which this edited extract has been taken, is published by Viking. A BBC2 series based on the book begins on 30 September and an exhibition runs at the National Portrait Gallery, London WC2, from 16 September to 4 January.
From his precious cigarette card collection, to first locking eyes with his baby daughter, to responding to the age of the selfie, the renowned historian has always been fascinated by faces and how they are depicted. But how to…
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