I collect a lot of stuff. Sometimes I wonder where it all began. My father always encouraged me. He collected cigarette cards in the 1930s. Although I recall some footballer cards (given away wiith chewing gum) in the late 1950s, the first set of “chewing gum” (bubblegum) cards that I have real memories of….is a 80-card set of Flags of the World.
The chewing gum/card cost one penny and I used to collect them and exchange cards with my friends. Some cards were very elusive. I probably had about 65 of them. I never had the album. My mother did not let me to chew gum so I gave the little pieces of pink gum to friends.
The cards were very informative. As well as a colour pic of a national flag, the card gave such information as the capital city, currency, population and some phrases such as “Hello”, “Goodbye” and “Thank you”.
As is often the case with collecting, there is a lot to be learned from the time that the cards were issued. They must have been produced a few years earlier than 1960 as the flag of United States has just 48 stars. The flag of “Algeria” has the French tricolere in the canton.
But viewed from the perspective of 2016, it is a history lesson…Nationalist China, Indo-China, Tibet and the Union of South Africa. This was in the middle of the decolonisation process after World War Two. Kenya, Malta, Ghana, Mali, Chad and Cyprus and several other nations that we know today as independent are not in the set. Likewise the nation states that emerged from the break up of the Soviet Union are not included.
Of course my original cards were lost or given away. But I have seen cards at collectors fairs and seen cards sold on ebay. Thru the Internet, I have discovered that these cards were issued by A & BC who would produce many other series of cards (mostly footballers) during the 1960s. As I understand it these Flag cards were actually issued twice, about two years apart. The sets were in different sizes.
I bought this album thru ebay. All 80 cards. They are the larger size and this is the size that I would have known circa 1960. So this morning, the postman delivered some wonderful nostalgia to me. Nice to see them again after fifty-five years.