American companies often featured actresses and sportsmen and what is now regarded as the first cigarette cards featured these images. Britain followed suit, and the cigarette card made its way across the pond to Europe. In 1887, W.D. & H.O. was one of the first companies to introduce the cigarette card to the UK market.

In some cases, the cards were printed on to silk. The cigarette card died out during World War II as production of them was put on hold in a bid to ration paper, and the cards were never reintroduced after the war.

The cigarette card has a history of being highly collectible. In 2007, a world record was set when $2 350 000 was paid of a card which featured Honus Wagner, a 20th century American baseball player. The card has a peppered history, as Wagner, a non-smoker, was outraged when the tobacco company wanted to use his image without his consent. The release of the card was stopped, but somehow a few cards made it on to the market.

Check out cigarette cards on Barnebys here. Click on the item to learn more.

3232 A part-set of 13 (of 14) Cope Bros. & Co. 'Smoke Room Booklets', circa 1889-1893 and 5 duplicates.

3222 A collection of Godfrey Phillips cigarette cards, the majority part-sets and odds, including 33 'British Beauties, 1-54', 50 'British Beauties, 55-108 (matt)', 20 'Advertisement Cards' and 14 'Cricket Fixture Cards'.

3200 A part-set of 49 (of 50) Marsuma Co. 'Famous Golfers & Their Strokes' cigarette cards, circa 1914.

3217 A set of 25 American Tobacco Co. 'Songs D' cigarette cards, circa 1900.

3207 A set of 25 Co-Operative Wholesale Society (C.W.S.) 'Parrot Series' cigarette cards, circa 1910 (restored).