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Chandler Cornered

Cigarette Card No.34

I never told you this last C.C. for fear of being gazumped by a fellow collector.
When I was at the Grangemouth car boot sale
I happened to glance in a junk shop window.

I saw it.
There it was all by itself in between a stuffed zebra and
a broken model of a Spitfire (Mark III with trim elevators and fluge tail)

"Cigarette Card number 34."

Now let me tell you about cigarette card No.34.

In the 1930's Turf Cigarettes released a set of chess cards.
If you bought one packet of Turf fags then inside you got a picture
of a famous chess player. Here is Botvinnik and Rueben Fine.

I have them all bar card No.34 (Sir George Thomas).

Originally card No.34 was to be Sir George giving a simultaneous display
but this was soon replaced by just a plain picture and numbered 35.

Card No.34 was pulled and never issued.

If you sent Turf Cigarettes 5 empty packets they sent
you a joyful wee album to keep your cards in.

The space reserved for card No.34 is marked 'unavailable'.

Over the years all the cards came into my possession.
I was happy and it felt good.
Then one day I heard a rumour that one of the cards showing
the Thomas simultaneous had NOT been destroyed and was 'out there.'

At first I ignored such tiffle as jealousy by collectors who had incomplete sets.
Here is Capablanca and Reshevsky. Two cards now very hard to obtain.

Then I went to Grangemouth and saw it. The Holy Grail of cigarette cards.

The shop was shut!

I went back to Grangemouth on the Monday and Thank You God,
the shop was open.
The shop keeper said he had just sold the card for 50p

"Who too?" I screamed.

The shop keeper described him - it could only be Craig Pritchett.

I went to Craig's house the next day only to discover
he had swapped the card with Roddy McKay for a Jason Donovan CD.

Round to Roddy's. He had passed it to Dougie Bryson in exchange
for a metal detector. Dougie had swapped it for the complete
works of William Wordsworth with George Neave.

George had swapped it for a pirate's hat with Hugh Brechin who
in turn had exchanged it for a Hull City top from George Pyrich.
He gave it to Amy Officer for a Tony the Tiger Lamp Shade.
She did a deal with Jannic Konarski who gave her, what he said
was the original 'Mona Lisa' for it.

Oh No. Konarski has it.

But not realising it's worth he had swapped it back to
Roddy McKay for a metal detector. I returned to Roddy's only
to discover he had sold it to a small shop in Grangemouth for 5.00.

Finally I bought it for 20.00

It's mine. The Precious, It's mine, all mine.

Eat your hearts out.

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