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Including books, postcards, trading cards, posters, prints, etchings, Chinese paintings and Japanese paintings and prints

History of Books

In classical times, there were great libraries and an established book trade but much of this was lost with the decline of the Roman Empire.  By the 7th and 8th centuries, it was only in the monasteries on the fringes of the old Roman world, in Ireland and in the Byzantine Empire, that the art […]  Continue Reading »

Collecting Books

In classical times, there were great libraries and an established book trade but much of this was lost with the decline of the Roman Empire.  By the 7th and 8th centuries, it was only in the monasteries on the fringes of the old Roman world, in Ireland and in the Byzantine Empire, that the art […]  Continue Reading »

Collectable Books

Old books are not valuable just because of their age but very old books will almost always be scarce and probably valuable for that reason. As a guide, any book is likely to be valuable if it was printed anywhere before 1500, printed in England before 1640, printed in America before 1800 or printed in […]  Continue Reading »

Books That Are NOT Collectable

More Bibles have been printed than any other book. Although copies may be treasured by their owners, very few are of value to collectors. Of course, there are exceptions, such as the first English Authorised (King James) Bible and a variety of early Bibles that are sought because of some misprint, or other oddity. Encyclopedias […]  Continue Reading »


Although earlier examples are known, the postcard was patented in 1861 by John P. Charlton of Philadelphia. The rights were sold to H.L. Lipman who produced postcards with a decorated border labelled “Lipman’s postal card”. By 1870, picture postcards were being produced in limited quantities in Europe. A surge in the use of postcard came […]  Continue Reading »

Real Photo Postcards

In 1906, Kodak introduced their Folding Pocket camera, the first camera aimed at a mass market. One feature of this camera was the ability of the photographer to write a message on the negative with a metal scribe. These negatives were postcard sized and could be printed onto paper with a postcard back. Black-and-white “real […]  Continue Reading »


Posters have been produced since the printing press was invented in the 15th century. Until about 1800, however, posters were mainly text with sometimes a small illustration. The invention of lithography, in 1798, made it much easier to include colour illustrations in posters. This, and the need to advertise the new mass-produced goods being produced […]  Continue Reading »


The oldest existing maps are clay tablets made in Babylon around 2300 BC. The first map to represent the known world is believed to have been drawn by the Greek philosopher Anaximander in the 6th century BC. One of the most famous ancient maps was drawn by Eratosthenes in about 200 BC. It showed the […]  Continue Reading »

Victorian Etchings

The first etchings were made early in the 17th century as a quick way of producing engravings. In engraving, the design is cut directly on the surface of a copper plate that is used for printing. In etching, the plate is covered with a thin coating of wax on which the design is drawn with […]  Continue Reading »

Chinese Painting

The Chinese considered painting to be the only fine art. The artist looked to the past for inspiration. Recreating past masterpieces was regarded as a worthwhile and honourable endeavour – unlike in the West, where it is regarded as forgery! Since the Sung Dynasty ((980 to 1279) landscape painting has been predominant. The characteristic style […]  Continue Reading »

Japanese Painting & Prints

Civil wars were fought in Japan between rival shoguns for much of the time between 1333 and 1573. The samurai, a caste of professional warriors, became extremely influential throughout this period in all aspects of Japanese life including the arts. The samurai were attracted to the self-discipline and self-reliance emphasised by Zen Buddhism which they […]  Continue Reading »

Trading Cards

In the mid-19th century, blank cards were used to strengthen paper cigarette packs. Manufacturers soon realised the potential of these cards for advertising. The oldest known advertising card was issued in 1878 with Marquis of Lorne cigarettes distributed by the American News Company in the United States. (The card has a picture of the Marquis […]  Continue Reading »

Movie Star Trading Cards

Actors and actresses have been the subject of cigarette cards from the beginning. Stage actors and actresses were displaced by movie stars as the favoured topic from about 1915 when the American Tobacco  Company issued a series of movie stars. Scores of other series followed, issued by various companies all over the world. Movie star […]  Continue Reading »

Royalty Trading Cards

Royalty has always been a popular topic with card issuers in Britain but these cards were often less avidly sought by collectors. W D & H O Wills issued a series of Kings and Queens in 1897; this was the first to have descriptions printed on the back of each card. Royalty cards sometimes devote […]  Continue Reading »

Transport Trading Cards

Planes, trains, boats and cars have long been a favourite subject because they look good in framed sets. To meet this need, transport cards often had adhesive backs and albums, with the description from the back of the card alongside each card’s position, were sold. Transport trading cards available now(Clicking on an item of interest […]  Continue Reading »

Basketball Trading Cards

The first basketball cards were issued in 1948. They were not a success. Further issues were attempted in the late 1950s and during the 1960s, again, without success. It was not until 1986 that the “Fleer Set”, featuring the Michael Jordan rookie card, became poplar. The popularity of baseball cards has continued to rise and […]  Continue Reading »

Baseball Trading Cards

Baseball cards are the most popular category of all collectable cards. The first baseball card was issued in 1886. Originally they were collected by adults but, gradually, collecting baseball cards came to seen as a children’s’ pastime. From the 1970s, it has re-emerged as an area for serious adult collectors. The main factor in determining […]  Continue Reading »

Cricket Trading Cards

The first cricket series was issued by WD & HO Wills in 1896. Since that time over 11,000 different cards depicting cricket have been issued. In Australia, cricket trade cards issuers included Snider and Abrahams’ Standard Cigarettes from 1904 to 1914, Hoadleys and Allans confectionary in the 1930s, Kornies cereals from 1948 to 1959, the […]  Continue Reading »

Australian Football Trading Cards

The first Australian Rules cigarette cards were issued with Old Judge Cigarettes in 1890. Only one series of eleven cards was issued. Sniders and Abrahams’ Standard Cigarettes issued 16 sets of football cards (totalling almost 800 different cards)  from 1904 until the First World War (1914). WD & HO Wills began issuing football cards in […]  Continue Reading »

American Football Trading Cards

The first recognised American football card, depicting Henry Beecher, was issued in 1887. There are earlier so-called “scraps”; these were paper souvenirs dating back as far as the period immediately after the Civil War. (Bear in mind that, until the early 1880s, Americans played a rugby-style game.)  American football trading cards available now(Clicking on an […]  Continue Reading »

Hockey Trading Cards

The first card issued for any major sport was a hockey card issued in 1879. However, hockey cards were not widely produced until after the Second World War. Today, they are the fourth most widely collected sports card.   Hockey trading cards available now(Clicking on an item of interest will open a new window)  Continue Reading »

Golf Trading Cards

The first series of cards golf cards was issued in Britain in 1900 by Cope. These depicted golfing scenes rather than actual golfers. A series with photographs of golfers was issued by Ogden in 1901. In 1928, Churchman produced a series of fifty “Famous Golfers” followed in 1931 by another fifty “prominent Golfers”.   Golf […]  Continue Reading »