International Trade Cards

A very brief history of International trade & trading rugby cards

What most collectors describe as "Trade cards" have effectively been around longer than cigarette cards..... although technically speaking cigarette cards are also trade cards. Trade cards could best be described as any card issued with a product. More often than not in early times the grocer handed out these cards whereas in modern times the cards are mostly inside the actual packet of the product. The idea of trade cards was to entice consumers to continue to buy those products, and I can tell you from personal experience that this works!. The most prolific producer of rugby trade cards in New Zealand is Sanitarium, who includes cards in their Weet-Bix breakfast cereal. Other issuers of rugby cards include Cadbury (Chocolate), MeadowFresh (Milk), Tararua (Milk), Butland Industries (Chesdale Cheese), Timaru Milling (Cereal) and a half dozen different Rugby Unions.

"Gum cards" straddle the line between  "Trade cards" and "Trading cards".  The cards were effectively produced for the sole purpose of selling in packets, although the insertion of a piece of gum confuses the issue. The gum tended to be tasteless horrible stuff that would have been thrown away as often as it was actually eaten. The only Gum card company in New Zealand producing rugby cards was Allens & Regina (later Regina). They issued five sets, two in 1968, one in 1976, and two in 1991. The 1968 cards are now very expensive and incredibly difficult to obtain.

"Trading cards" on the other hand are not issued with a product, but were produced with the sole purpose of selling. In New Zealand there were only a limited number of firms producing trading cards. The firms issuing rugby cards comprised Regina, Dynamic in 1995, Card Crazy in 1995 & 1996, and Ineda in 1997. Unfortunately no rugby trading cards have been produced in New Zealand since 1997, probably due to the huge licensing fees now demanded by the NZRFU for the privilege. Also, the company Ineda Limited was placed into liquidation in 1997/8 owing the NZRFU thousands of dollars, and this probably hasn't helped any other company's attempts to negotiate with the NZRFU regarding producing another set.