A COLLECTION of 30,000 cigarette cards found at a house in Hartlepool has sold at auction for £8,000.
The massive hoard of cards, dating back to the 1920s onwards, was discovered at a house clearance in the town by staff from Boldon Auction Galleries, in South Tyneside.
The current owners of the cards, who do not wish to be identified, agreed to put the valuable collectors’ items up for auction and they were snapped up for the £8,000 price tag.
They included pictures of footballers, cricketers, swimmers, boxers, rugby players and race horses, angling, cycling, film stars, radio celebrities, famous beauties and kings and queens.
Other cards pictured aeroplanes, pilots and airports, railway engines and equipment, ships, mining, engineering wonders, famous inventors, and flowers, butterflies, game birds and wildfowl.
One card in particular shows Inverness-born Tom McDonald, who signed for Newcastle United from Rangers for £2,000 in 1921.
Giles Hodges, who runs Boldon Auction Galleries, said: “We are often called out in the Hartlepool area to do house clearances and we got a call out down there and there was this house full of cigarette cards. They were all over the place, up and down the stairs, in drawers, on tops, everywhere.
“I’ve had the job of sorting them all out, it took a while.” He added: “They ranged from the 1920s up to the 1970s when smoking became unfashionable because of health reasons.
“The cards were of every subject you can think of from animals to flowers, and footballers to aeroplanes. It was a great collection.
“It’s quite rare to find so many, we’ve all come across big collections but maybe not quite so big.
“If you have a passion for collecting something you just carry on and you don’t mind how much you collect.
“It’s not as common these days because people are more interested in computer games so we aren’t breeding the same sort of collectors.”