Tobacco companies have been issuing insert cards since 1875 and collecting cigarette cards is a popular hobby.
Some companies have issued cigarette cards that look like miniature playing cards or with playing card indices on them, several depicting 'beauties of the day'.
It was a hugely successful promotion offering patience or bridge size and single or double or bezique sets. Originally the cards were produced by Goodall (owned by De La Rue) and Waddington, but Mardon Son & Hall a Bristol printing and packaging company making boxes for Wills began making the playing cards specifically for this promotion.
Playing cards at that time (and until August 1960) were subject to a duty of 3d per pack and always sealed inside a blue tax wrapper.
All the suit symbols have a white overlay border in this version.
The 'Old Frizzle' Ace of Spades carries the duty of one shilling at the top and has the text "By His Majesty's Royal Letters Patent" printed at the bottom which had been granted to Thomas de la Rue by King William IV for 'certain improvements in making or manufacturing and ornamenting playing cards.' This Ace, with the extra legend, was registered in August 1832, whereas before the patent was granted a normal 'Old Frizzle' Ace was used.
From 1840 until 1856 playing cards remained the firm's chief money maker and this provided a financial basis for any new fields of activity that De la Rue wished to enter.