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'Grace and Beauty'...it's in the cards

carole lombard cine mundial dec 1935 large

In Carole Lombard's day, being seen with a cigarette was no sin...and in many foreign countries, film stars were tied into tobacco in another way -- as the subject of cards offered as premiums from manufacturers. (Think of them as featuring a side product of lung cancer, rather than the tooth decay you got from the gum that accompanied baseball cards.)

Regardless of your thoughts on smoking, quite a few people avidly collect movie star tobacco cards, and we've discussed them in the past (http://carole-and-co.livejournal.com/21084.html, http://carole-and-co.livejournal.com/205341.html, http://carole-and-co.livejournal.com/273426.html, http://carole-and-co.livejournal.com/471481.html). And now, you can get Carole and 44 other lovely ladies of the late '30s, as the complete 45-card "Grace and Beauty" collection is being auctioned at eBay.

The set was issued by British American Tobacco (BAT), reportedly in 1938, but the films noted for the various actresses all appear to be from 1935 and earlier. So do the pictures, such as this one of Lombard, which dates to sometime in 1932:

carole lombard tobacco card 10b

Carole is #20 in the set; here's the entire checklist, seemingly equally divided between U.S. and British actresses, as well as a few of the cards...

1. Janice Jarratt
2. Claire Dodd

grace and beauty claire dodd

3. Madge Evans

grace and beauty madge evans

4. Mary Duncan
5. Tala Birell
6. Jean Parker
7. Sheila Mannors
8. Frances Drake
9. Betty Furness
10. June Brewster
11. June Whitney
12. Gloria Stuart
13. Anna Lee
14. Joy Hodges
15. Mary Astor
16. Simone Simon
17. Barbara Roberts

grace and beauty barbara roberts

18. Kathleen Kelly
19. Eleanor Huntley
20. Carole Lombard
21. Olivia de Havilland

grace and beauty olivia de havilland

22. Margaret McConnell
23. Leila Hyams
24. Laurie Douglas
25. Polly Ward
26. Dorothy Wilson
27. June Knight
28. Gladys Swarthout
29. Claire Trevor

grace and beauty claire trevor

30. Grace Bradley
31. Juliette Compton
32. Elaine Ruby
33. June Rae
34. Cecilia Parker
35. Lois Wilde
36. Lois January
37. Alice Faye

grace and beauty alice faye

38. Joan Blondell
39. Adrienne Ames

grace and beauty adrienne ames

40. Iris Lancaster
41. Suzanne Kaaren
42. Irene Ware
43. Lillian Ellis
44. Florence Rice
45. Ruth Hilliard

Each of the cards measures 2 1/4" x 3 1/8"; the images are black and white with sepia borders and background. According to the seller, they are in very good to excellent condition.

As of this writing, one bid has been made for $16.05 (the seller is in Great Britain). Bidding is slated to conclude at 5:11 p.m. (Eastern) Sunday. Since individual cards from this set have been known to go for several dollars each, it appears the winning bidder on this could get quite a bargain. (Learn more about these cards at http://immortalephemera.com/movie-collectibles/1938-bat-grace-beauty/#ecwid:category=341802&mode=category&offset=18&sort=priceDesc.)

Want to be that bidder, or are you interested? You can bid and/or check out many of the cards by going to http://www.ebay.com/itm/Full-set-Glamour-Cigarette-cards-Actresses-Joan-Blondell-Carole-Lombard-1938-/370648451526?pt=UK_Collectables_Cigarette_Tea_GumCards_CA&hash=item564c5e89c6.

It's a journey to a time when cigarette smoking was imbued with sophistication...little did the smokers know that three-quarters of a century later, the practice would be seen as anything but.

carole lombard smoking 00a
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