Mecca Cigarettes 1910 Aviation Cards

mecca_1Mecca Cigarettes was, at one time, a tobacco brand that published numerous trading cards that were inserted in their packs of cigarettes, including baseball cards, boxers, and other sporting figures.

Named after the holy city of Mecca where the prophet Mohammad was born, Mecca Cigarettes were introduced by the Kinney Bros. Tobacco Company in 1878. Famous for its superb advertising and cigarette card inserts, it struck the fancy of the American public, and in 1915 it proclaimed itself to be “the largest selling brand in America today.”

But it wouldn’t last long, as when World War I began, this Turkish brand of cigarettes took it on the chin as the Middle East brands – or those with a Middle East theme – including Turkish and Egyptian brands found that they weren’t popular after Turkey decided to align itself with America’s enemies.

You can also add in the pro-American ‘American-blend’ Camel cigarettes came onto the scene in 1913, as things leading to its fall.

Still…before that, Mecca was a huge player in the Tobacco industry.

In 1910, as part of its T218 set, Mecca released the Champion Athletes and Prizefighters, a 153-card set that included: track and field stars, swimming, rollerskating, diving, bowling, golf, billiards, boxing, and, of course, four popular aeroplane pilots of the day.

Each card measures 2-1/2″ wide x 2-7/8-inches high, and come with Mecca brand advertising on the back, though there are also some versions with Hassan and Tolstoi branding on the reverse.

Mecca Cigarettes, Hassan Cigarettes and Tolstoi Cigarettes where considered a ‘cheaper Turkish blend’ for the National audience, compared to other such brands then available.

Below are the four cards – front and back – of the pilots… with some great information contained on each… and with the bizarre fact that three of the four pilots actually died in 1910 just before these cards came out. Yeesh… talk about a jinx. Charles Keeney Hamilton managed to survive until 1914.

I have not seen these cards in any other format but the Mecca brand, but it is supposed that they do exist for Hassan and Tolstoi.

The pilots are:

  • Charles Keeney Hamilton;
  • Arch Hoxey;
  • Ralph Johnstone;
  • John B. Moisant.

Yeesh… talk about a jinx.

Charles Hamilton Mecca Card 63

Charles Hamilton Mecca Card 63

Charles Hamilton Mecca reverse Card 63

Charles Hamilton Mecca reverse Card 63

Arch Hoxley Mecca Card 64

Arch Hoxley Mecca Card 64

Arch Hoxley Mecca reverse Card 64

Arch Hoxley Mecca reverse Card 64

Ralph Johnstone Mecca Card 65

Ralph Johnstone Mecca Card 65

mecca-aviation-ralph-johnstone

Ralph Johnstone Mecca reverse Card 65

JP Moisart Mecca Card 66

JP Moisart Mecca Card 66

 

JB Moisant Mecca reverse Card 66

JB Moisant Mecca reverse Card 66

I shall take a look at each of these aviators shortly. I will note that despite Charles Keeney Hamilton’s card noting his birthdate as 1881, some think it might have been 1885. The implication is that not everything on the cards need be taken for 100% fact. But… we’ll see.

 

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About mreman47

Andrew was born in London, UK, raised in Toronto, Canada, and cavorted in Ohtawara, Japan for three years. He is married, has a son and a cat. He has over 35,000 comic books and a plethora of pioneer aviation-related tobacco and sports cards and likes to build LEGO dioramas. Along with writing for a monthly industrial magazine, he also writes comic books and hates writing in the 3rd person. He also hates having to write this crap that no one will ever read. Along with the daily Japan - It's A Wonderful Rife blog, when he feels the hate, will also write another blog entitled: You Know What I Hate? He also works on his Pioneers Of Aviation - a cool blog on early fliers. He also wants to do more writing - for money, though. Help him out so he can stop talking in the 3rd person.
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