Another year has come and gone and I feel more and more out of touch with modern card sets. I won't remember 2017 as the year I frantically tried to find Aaron Judge rookie cards. Instead, it will be remembered by my discovery of a set that is more than 80 years old and one that I've become slightly obsessed about.
The set in question is the 1934 Wills Tobacco Animalloys set. These cards were produced by the W. D. & H. O. Wills Tobacco Company which was a part of the larger Imperial Tobacco (which is still around today).
The set is made up of 48 cards and, as you can see from the example below, each card is a piece of a larger image and there are 16 three-card images that feature some of the most unique animals from around the world.
Here is card #40 featuring what looks like an elk with "WAP" above it.
The card backs don't provide any information about the animal featured but it is interesting to see that the card creators highlight that collectors can mix and match the cards to create their own "strange creatures."
I randomly came across this set searching the COMC.com non-sports listings and most of the cards don't command prices that are too outrageous. The set has a lot of great art and so I decided to start scooping them up and I've added 13 of the 48 cards so far this year (needs list to follow someday).
I think that is pretty good progress on an 83-year-old set but so far I've only completed one of the three-card animal images. And here it is!
What is a wapiti, you ask? Well, it is the Shawnee and Cree word for an elk. It means "white rump" and take a look at the card and there is that white rump on full display. In England, the animal they call an "elk" is what North Americans call a "moose" and so to avoid any confusion they went with the native term.
Completing this was probably my biggest collecting achievement of 2017 (or maybe it was this) which sort of puts into perspective how my collecting habits have changed over time. I'm definitely getting a lot more enjoyment from vintage and non-sports cards than rolling the dice on new products.