Happy 2011 Fellow Chocolate Lovers! I have quite a bit in store for you this year! I hope you are as excited as I am about 2011! Today we are starting of with chocolate showcards and trading cards.
Almost everyone knows about trading cards. They come with a dry stick of bubblegum and are sold with baseball, football (American), football (the rest of the world), soccer (American) and various other sport trading cards. Recently, the market has seen Harry Potter trading cards sold with chocolate. This is not a new idea, but was resurrected from trading cards being packaged in chocolate and cocoa products the late 19th century.
Chocolate trading cards, like all other ephemeral products not only have a cultural history, but are quite collectible as well. The chocolate trading cards came in a variety of sizes and were for different uses. “Showcards” were made for marketing purposes in the stores. In the days before elaborate packaging, showcards were used to hang over the products to entice the buyer. The front of the showcard had an advertisement to promote the chocolate and the reverse side had a list of prices for the merchant to know how much to charge the customer.
What became known as “tradecards” were targeted toward the customer. The chocolate and cocoa companies gave the tradecards to the shop owners to hand out to customers at the counter or to enclose them with the product. These chocolate tradecards were all about the same size. The front of the card had a beautiful image with information about the company, the product and often a quote or motto.
Cacao & Chocolat Van Houten Tradecard
Huyler’s Vanilla Chocolate boasted, “If you only knew how nice it is!”
Van Houten’s Hot Cocoa joked, “Spin the arms around quickly and gaze in the center.”
Phillips’ Digestible Cocoa claims, “A Delicious & Highly Nutritious Beverage.”
Most of the scenes featured on the front of the chocolate trading cards were of young children to evoke the memories of childhood. Some chocolate trading cards were erotic, some patriotic and some full of fantasy. Some of the most popular words used in the chocolate trading card slogans include pure, digestible, healthy, nutritious, delicious, healthy and the best. A few of the chocolate trading cards even went so far as to claim the health benefits of chocolate, something that had since fallen out of fashion, but has now come full circle. Phillips’ claimed cocoa was a fantastic food for growing children and women who may suffer from nervous disorders. As the popularity of chocolate trading cards increased, the quality of the card stock increased. One thing that remained constant was the use of brightly colored images on the chocolate trading cards.
Walter Baker and Co. Tradecard
On the back of the chocolate trading cards were instructions on how to use the chocolate. Some chocolate and cocoa manufacturers advertised chocolate making classes, some gave directions on how to make hot chocolate, and others gave baking recipes.
I have a collection of all of the chocolate bar wrappers I have experienced. You can also collect chocolate trading cards, chocolate pots, molinillos, chocolate posters, cocoa tins, and chocolate tins and boxes. For the chocolate lover and collector, your choices are limitless! Where can you find all of these fabulous finds? Antique shops, eBay and you grandmothers attic!
Good luck on starting your chocolate collectibles collection!