Cigarette Cards In More Detail




Snooker and Billiards related Cigarette Cards
A brief introductory guide

I have gathered together a few examples of the variety of cigarette cards that are commonly available these cards are of course related to both billiards and snooker collecting.

This is not a comprehensive guide but it is a well-intentioned as a starting point for anyone interested in collecting Cigarette cards that relate to billiards and snooker who as yet has not been lucky enough to have seen some of the designs and specific types of card that comes up from time to time.

I have striven for variety rather than simply buying full sets from a dealer, the reason for this is to prolong and enhance the collecting experience, as you will see, many billiards cards are from sets of cards that cover other fields of endeavour from acting to just about any sporting pastime that you can think of.

Wills John Roberts series

The first cards that I would like to talk about are the Wills John Roberts series; this set comprises fifty cards all with specific billiard shots shown in colour on the front of the card, also included is a description of how to play each shot, on the reverse of the cards. They are a nice set and well worth getting a hold of. This series was produced in 1909 and so are becoming quite scarce these days.I only have six at the moment but am on the lookout for a few odds, should you know where I can get a hold of them?

Please feel free to e-mail with a list and pictures of any surplus snooker and billiards related cigarette cards that you have, please note that they must be in good condition if they are to be added to the Cue N Views collection. I particularly enjoy photo or individual portrait cards but will consider part sets of Will, Ogden’s or those from the Walter Lindrum series. I will feature such cards in the future, once I have added them to the colledtion.

In 1928s made a similar set, this time featuring the skills of Tom Newman who at the time was world billiards champion. This set features the innovation of a close up of the cueball with a cross on its surface that indicates where the cue should strike it to achieve the shot displayed. The inset also often features a representation of the ball to ball contact required using a second ball with the cueball overlapping it thus indicating potting angles or safety contacts that are required. Being a Tom Newman fan, I like this set very much, some of the shots depicted relate to snooker, this shows how much the popularity of the 22 ball game had increased over the past few years. I have all of this set, except number 6, I am hopeful of completing it in the next few months. Again if you have a duplicate number six, please let me know, I would definitely like to add it to the forty-nine that I currently own. These cards in good condition usually retail for a pound or so, I of course will pay double this figure for a good example to complete my set.

Turf Cigarettes

One of my favourite cards is the card of Tom Newman by Turf Cigarettes. This card must have appeared in 1922 or 1923 as it contains a reference to Tom Newmans break of 1,274; this break was superseded in 1924 with his break of 1370, the largest break ever made in competition with Ivories. The likeness on the front of the card is colourful and attractive but does not look much like Mr Newman himself, as it is rather flattering on the positive side, I really admire the way that the artist has drawn the faces of the spectators, each one is an individual portrait rather than an indistinct background montage of images, perhaps these faces belong to friends of Mr Newman or the artist himself?. 

I feel sure that the rest of the set would feature other billiard playing sportsmen, if there were any other billiard related cards that you know of in this set, please let me know?

Lambert and Butler – Photo Cards

In 1927 Lambert and Butler produced a series of photo cards in glorious, living monochrome, this series featured top sportsmen and possibly women of the era. The set included several top billiard players.

The two that I have are “William” (Willie) Smith and Tom Reece. These cards are a real treat as they are well photographed and carry interesting and informative text on the reverse.

I am unsure about the other Billiard players in the set but would like to know more, should you be able to tell me anything. I would be surprised if Joe Davis was not included in the set as well as perhaps Messrs Newman, Inman and Lindrum.

Park Drive – Champions

Park Drive also included several billiards exponents in their Champions series; this set comprised of 48 cards. It features paintings in miniature; they were in colour and gave a flavour of how the players themselves must have looked while in play. My cards feature Sidney Lee, Joe Davis and Walter Lindrum, I have a double of Walter in case anyone wishes a swap, perhaps for one of the missing cards that I have mentioned during this small piece?

The full set comprises 48 pieces, most of which are from other sports, again I am unsure how many billiard player cards exist, so advice would be well received. Incidentally, the Joe Davis card that I have is from the second set of 48, which were issued due to the popularity of the first batch, I assume.

I am reliably informed that series one appeared in 1933.


Ogden’s returned to supplying billiards related cigarette cards with the A Newman-Mond Trick billiards series. This set comprises many of the trick shots in diagram form along with a detailed description on the reverse. The set is of fifty shots with colourful images as well as inset sections for clarification of how each shot is to be played.

Mr Newman-Mond was a trick shot and entertainment specialist who wrote a small book, which contained the same shots of which I have a copy. I was interested to note that Mr Newman-Mond was an early exponent of the use of little cardboard tubes in his routines.

I have 23 of the fifty at the moment and so of course wish to acquire the rest in due course. These cards first appeared in 1934.


Two other cards that I have acquired are from the W. A. & A. C. Churchman series of fifty. These cards are caricatures of “Men of the moment in sport” by an artist who is signed as Mel. They are humorous but contain a nicely written information piece on the reverse. I have a larger Joe Davis card that could have come in a packet of cigars perhaps? I don’t know which other billiards related celebrities were featured but would be surprised if Walter Lindrum was not featured in this series of larger cards?

Churchman also produced a series of fifty cards entitled, “Sporting Celebrities” number nine featured a caricature of Walter Lindrum and must have appeared between 1929 and 1932, as the break that it mentions as Lindrums current best was under 4,137, which he made in 1932. I like this card a lot as the picture is colourful and uses the table light to good effect.


Carreras fine quality cigarettes produced a set of 72 cards entitled “Popular Personalities”.

These cards were unusual as they were oval in shape and featured photographs that appear to have been cut to shape, by hand. The two that I have are Tom Newman and Walter Lindrum. These cards are numbered 66 and 67, respectively.

Once again I feel sure that other billiards exponents would have been included in this series but as yet, have not come across them.

Lambert and Butler – Who’s Who in Sport

I have two cards from the Who’s Who in Sport series, produced by Lambert and Butler. These were produced in 1927, I believe as this was the Year that Mr Earlam retired from the amateur ranks. They are the cards featuring photographs of Tom Newman and J Earlam who had just recently turned professional. Interestingly these cards also appeared as a British American Tobacco item, I have duplicate billiard players from this set but as the facing illustration is the same, I see little need in showing the duplicate images.

Robert Sinclair Tobacco – Billiards

I have four of a set of fifty specific instructional cards from Willie Smith under the heading of “Foursome Cigarettes” also known as the Robert Sinclair Tobacco Limited. The series is imaginatively entitled “Billiards”.

What I do like about them is their design and their undoubted exclusivity and the quality of their production. Each card is totally different to the others as it has a title bar at the bottom describing the shot that is being demonstrated in the ilustration. I currently have 5, 7, 10 and 12. This set, I believe appeared in 1928.

R and J Hill – Celebrities of Sport

R and J Hill produced a set of cigarette cards entitled “Celebrities of Sport”, the whole set was fifty, I have Tom Newman and Joe Davis. These are numbers 25 and 37. They are rather attractive colourised photographs of two of the mid 1920s top players. As I have not seen the whole set I remain unsure about which other cueists might have been included?

Gallagher – Sporting Personalities

In 1936 Gallagher produced a series called “Sporting Personalities”, I have two, one is Melbourne Inman and the other is the sporting cartoonist Tom Webster. The full set comprises 48 cards from a variety of sports.

Ogden – Champions of 1936

Ogden’s once again returned to billiards and snooker in their series Champions of 1936; the cards from this set that I currently own are of Joseph Thompson. Mr Thompson was the amateur billiards champion in 1936 and soon turned professional. He retired from professional competition a few years later and never so he really broke through to the top level. I am expecting delivery of two other champions of 1936 this week so more to follow! I also have the Joe Davis card and the card featuring Pat H Matthews British Amateur Snooker Champion of 1936. This group of cards first appeared in 1937. Thew complete set of cards features champions from a plethora of sporting events that would have been of interest to the smoker of the time, and perhaps little boys everywhere? Take care with this set as a reproduction set appeared in 2001, so if you want to buy originals, make sure that you are as informed as possible before you part your cash.

Top Flight

One of the most recent cards that I have is a card featuring Joe Davis from “Top Flight Cigarettes”; it is from a set of 25 and is number 8.

This is a beautiful card featuring a review of Joes career and makes reference to his 147 break; this puts its issue date at 1960.

This is possibly my favourite Joe Davis card of those I have yet seen. The colour scheme and the way that the picture is set out are both very pleasing to the eye in fact the card has a mixed style, a kind of retro modern quality that sets it apart from many other cards of the type.

Senior Service

Finally I have four larger photo cards of Joyce Gardner, Walter Lindrum, Horace Lindrum and a little known snooker personality called Joe Davies. As we all know the correct spelling is Joe Davis, the spelling on the card, both front and rear is in error.

These cards were produced by Senior Service to mark famous sporting events and stars. The full set is 96; it seems a pity that a hundred could not be found.

Again I am unsure which snooker and billiards personalities featured but like the set, as they are a little larger than other cigarette card sets. This series appeared in 1939 and probably provided a little light relief during the war years.

Salmon and Gluickstein

I have enjoyed collecting these cards and added to my collection with a reproduction set of the Salmon and Gluickstein decorative caricature Billiard Room series. 

These cards are quite humorous as well as decorative as they feature scenes that incorporate commonly used billiards phrases along with Victorian style illustrations reflecting the term in question. I recently had this set framed, they look tremendous with a border, all I need now is the period billiard room to go along with them.

If you can add any information to this short piece on collectable billiards and snooker cigarette cards, please feel free to do so by e-mail.  I have asked several leading names in the field to contribute to the Cues n Views web site in this area, but have not received anything to pass on to you to date. 

I hope that my incomplete work peaks your interest and reveals to you something of this additional strand to billiards and snooker collecting. If you have any cards to sell please feel free to make contact, likewise if you have some to swap. I understand that in 1902 Ogden City’s produced a card featuring Edward Diggle and the player from my home town of Huddersfield, Charles Dawson. As yet I have not come across an example but am on the lookout. I have been informed that nearly 700 individual billiards, snooker and pool cigarette cards exist, so I am sure that there is scope for further articles in the future. I will of course expand this section in the coming months, including any new cards that I manage to acquire.

So good hunting and if you decide to get a hold of a few cards and wish to write an addition to this section of the Cues n Views web site, feel free to make contact, I am well aware that many of you are expert in areas of collecting that are just becoming accessible to me.

In closing a friend of mine thinks that I must be a little strange as rather than buy completed sets of the more commonly available cards, I have persisted in trying to acquire them in dribs and drabs. My problem is that I am a collector of the old-school; I don’t always like someone else to do all the leg work, for me. I have seen sets of A Newman Mond cards go for as little as £36 but have shied away from them. Perhaps my way is a little eccentric but aren’t we all a little quirky, where our collecting habits are concerned?

David Smith
Cues n Views

© Copyright October 2003 / August 2005 September 2023 David Smith