Those cards are English (as in UK, that is), and I don't see a date on them, but a quick check on the Internet tells me that they were issued during the late 19th/early 20th century, and that complete sets of some of the series can be quite valuable.
Minnesota on Paper: Collecting our Printed History, authors Moira and Leo Harris write that trade cards reached the height of their popularity in the U.S. in the 1880s, and that, at that time, "the trade card was truly the most ubiquitous form of advertising in America."
And I, for one, can certainly understand the appeal of these little cards. As a maker and trader of ATCs (artists' trading cards), I am attracted to the artistry, the trivia, and the small format of such cards, although ATCs aren't quite as small as the Wills's Cigarettes cards; Wills's cards measure about 1.5" by 2.5" and ATCs are 2.5" by 3.5".
Little cards with art and information appeal to my arty didactic little heart. So, naturally, I thought I'd make some of my own, to promote my Etsy shop, of course, and, also, just for fun.
|The bumblebee card is one of two with a Minnesota focus.|
|The backs of the four cards are all the same|
|The first set of four Arty Didact trading cards|