Now that I am 30…

A nostalgic look back at the childhood of a small English kid.

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What made me a collector?

Posted by iwata33 on Thursday 17 April 2008

My Granddad died on my tenth birthday in 1987, back then it wasn’t really explained to me why he died but now it is evident it was from the vast amounts of incredibly strong cigarettes he would smoke each day.  It wasn’t until I was older that I really found out how dangerous smoking can be, even in 1987 there wasn’t that much anti-smoking sentiment in society.  The reason I bring this up is because without my Granddad smoking those woodbine fags we would never have had anywhere to store our Brooke Bond tea cards.

Back in the late eighties PG Tips main promotional campaigns was to give away cards with it’s boxes of tea.  You would also get vouchers for the albums that you could then stick the cards into.  My Granddad was the one that got me into being a collector because as any young boy will know going to ones grandparents isn’t always the most exciting thing you can do on a Saturday afternoon.  However going knowing I was going to spend a couple of hours going through the new cards, gluing them into albums and seeing what new collections there were  made the excessively smoky atmosphere and my granddads yellow fingers very bearable. (I realize it doesn’t sound like a great afternoon but remember I was ten years old and it was either that or watch Coronation Street all afternoon).

As you can see (from the picture above) the albums covered many different subjects from the Kings and Queens of Britain to discovering our coast line to the 1992 Olympic games (I continued to collect the cards even after my Granddad had past).  Each of the cards was very well printed and the albums were full of interesting facts and insights.  My two favourite albums were the Unexplained Mysteries of the World (which was inspired by a program of the time which I was also a great fan of ‘Arthur C. Clarke’s Unexplained Mysteries) and The Chimps Album which featured all the chimp characters from the PG Tips adverts from that time.  You must remember the adverts with the two chimps trying to push the piano up the stairs or my personal favorite Brooke Bond himself a chimp version of our very own James bond.

Although rather dated now, looking at these cards remind me of why I love collecting so much, and have a particular fondness for collecting cards, (Magic: The Gathering, The X-Files, Pokemon, Star Wars, World of Warcraft and numerous stickers albums over the years).  In fact my collecting can get quite obsessive meaning that I have this stuff all over the house.  However there is a buzz when opening that new packet or box for the first time and seeing what you get (especially if you get a ‘Shiny’ as we used to call them).  And this is where it all started with a small ten year old boy watching his Granddad pass on a time honored practice of collecting and hording like some over sized squirrel. I still have the old woodbine packets with my ‘Doubles’ in and an old ‘fiesta soft scope’ ice cream tub that holds all the albums.  I am just glad my other Granddad did not get me into his habit for collecting…Stamp collecting.

Should you want to know more about the old (or indeed new) Brooke Bond Tea cards, then check out this link for more tea card goodness

Happy Collecting



One Response to “What made me a collector?”

  1. Stephanie Leak said

    hey i came across your page when looking at card collecting and this is a very nice story of how you stated collecting.
    Anywho i am doing a project on collectors collecting and collections for uni and i was hoping that you may be able to give me an insite into the world of a collector and ups and downs of it all, etc.
    erm if you are interested please e-mail me at thank you x

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