This month’s VCoM comes with a bit of storytelling flair.
Let us take a little trip back in time, it is 1911 and on his way home from work your dad stops by the local Woolworth’s to pick up a pack of Royal Bengals Little Cigars. He paid 15 cents for a pack of 10 cigars but all you want to know is where are you going on your next adventure?
You sit at his feet while he relaxes in his chair, slowly opening up the pack he watches the anticipation build in your eyes. Almost toying with you he slowly pulls the lid back, brushes aside his cigars looking for the small piece of cardboard that you are eagerly waiting for him to pull out. He pulls the card up, the back is facing you and you cannot read the small text from where you sit. Who is it? What year will you imagine you travel to tonight?
He finally pulls out the card and with a smile he turns the card towards you… Benjamin Franklin! An American Hero of History. You run over to the Encyclopedia Britannicas sitting on the shelf and quickly grab the “A” book for “American Revolution”. You spend the rest of the night lost in thought, reading up on the founding of America. You drift off to sleep dreaming about life in the 1700s.
OK, enough of the dramatic, back to reality. This month’s card comes from the Heroes of History release, a 100 card set inserted in to packs of cigars that is cataloged as 1911 T68 Heroes of History. The set included noted historical figures from around the world, the checklist includes Bonaparte, Grant, Hudson, Lincoln, Caesar, Louis XIV, Shakespeare and others.
Most of the cards included the figure in a waist length illustration and worked in to the illustration is something important to the person’s legacy. Columbus has three ships in the background, Washington has an image of him crossing the Delaware River, James Monroe has the world map behind him with the Monroe Doctrine document in front of him and so on. The back of the cards contain quite a list of accomplishments from birth to death.
I picked this Franklin because I like the colors, the illustrators did a wonderful job with this set. I did a quick calculation using the CPI from 1911 and I paid barely more (based on inflation) than the original 15 cents it cost the person to buy the pack of cigars containing Big Ben here in 1911.
The card has seen better days, creases run through the card at a couple of levels. Both the front and back are creased, the corners are rounded and the back is stained and browning but it fits nicely in to my vintage collection.