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19th Century Advertising Trade Cards: The Basics

Part 1: An Introductory Guide to Collecting Advertising Trade Cards being an edited and updated version of the original publication by the (no longer active) Trade Card Collector's Association. Reproduced with permission



On the reverse of the following Victorian Easter Greeting distributed by the makers of Lion Coffee, Wilson Spice Co., appeared a contemporary explanation of the purposes and value of trade cards:



Decorate Your Homes With Handsome Picture Cards
There is nothing that tends more to beautify the home than the tasty arrangement of handsome Picture Cards upon the walls, mantels, doors, etc.  The Woolson Spice Co., manufacturers of Lion Coffee, have given this matter much attention and are constantly arranging for placing in the hands of consumers of Lion Coffee millions of beautiful Picture Cards. This we do as a compliment to our legion of friends and patrons over the country and we know our efforts are appreciated and the cards highly prized. 

We place in each one-pound p…

Scrapbooking 19th Century Trade Cards:

Soaking, Salvaging & Repairing
19th Century Victorian Trade Cards (from the Trade Card Collector's Association Convention, 26 June 1997)
Reproduced with permission. The TCCA disbanded and is no longer in operation.
For more information, consult The Victorian Card Hub Click the images to enlarge. 

We join the original booklet authors in urging you NOT to soak every album. Scrapbooks with a known family history are extremely rare and valuable as complete collections. The Earl J. Arnold Advertising Card Collection is an example of one of these rare scrapbooks.

Addenda 2: The DiMambro

Trade Card Scrapbook Video
You can view the original scrapbook that is the basis for the Earl J. Arnold Advertising Card Collectionin person in theCornell University Library.

To give you an idea of what it is like to view a Victorian trade card scrapbook in person, here is a video of one that was sold in 2018. It is followed by a page-by-page review featuring the original narration as transcribed from YouTube:

This video advertised a scrapbook that was sold by:



Brian DiMambro Antiquarian Published on Jan 23, 2018 "Excellent 19th century trade card album. As acquired, with over 600 chromolithographed cards and approx. 200 small cut-out chromolithographed scraps of the era. Ornate embossed cover, profusion of cards glued in as typical (almost certainly organic animal glue of the era, so readily removable by soaking). Peruse and purchase these and thousands more antique maps, rare books and prints at https://AntiqueMapsPrints.com. Like and Subscribe for more updates on our ever…
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