Album displaying cigarette packets which sold for £4800 at East Bristol Auctions.

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The first tranche was offered at East Bristol Auctions (17.5% buyer’s premium) in the November 7-8 sale and the 80 multi-lots attracted wide interest. “Cigarette cards are often said to be out of fashion but the results proved that there is still a huge market for the rarer items,” said Aplin.

The rarest three lots, and the sale’s biggest surprises, comprised not cards, however, but early 20th century packets of cigarettes (empty, although the collector’s family said he never smoked in his life).

Top-seller was a collection in plastic sleeves by long-gone makers such as Yanx, Cavenders Garrison, Chief Whip and Matador as well as a few better remembered names such as Sweet Afton.

Estimated at £60-100, the collection sold at £4800 to a collector who then shared the other two top offerings with a local rival. Against the same estimates, three albums sold at £3700 and another three-album lot at £2300.