I recently re-discovered these cards whilst sorting through my late mother's belongings. I hadn't seen them for years and I remember her telling me that my grandad used to collect them for her. (I notice she pencilled her initials on the back of every card.) My mum would have been 10 years old in 1935, and like most people at the time she loved the cinema and film stars of the day.
As you can see, the cards are coloured from black and white photographs, with details enhanced and painted; a technique that might seem crude today but was state of the art back then. I think it still looks very effective, and although the eyes and lips are a bit harshly coloured on some cards the skin tones are quite subtle.
As you can see, the reverse of each card carried information on the film in question. An ideal and compact way to enrich a fan's knowledge. It looks like my grandad managed to collect 46 of the set of 48 (No.6 and 41 are missing) and there are no duplicates so I assume my mum must have swapped them with her friends. Here are a few of the cards, front and backs. (As always, click on images to see them larger.)
My grandad stopped smoking in the 1940s so I don't know how long cigarette cards (or 'fag cards' as they were known) continued for. I imagine companies dropped them when the dangers of smoking became more evident. (Cards in packets of Brooke Bond tea were common when I was a kid, and I collected those in the 1960s.)
Anyway, I hope you've enjoyed this brief look at these 80 year old collectibles!