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Ballet Trading Cards (Capezio/tobacco cards)

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I've come across trading cards or picture cards of dancers that seem to have been produced by capezio and my best guess is that they are from the 1940's/50's. The cards measure 2 1/2"x4" and are white glossy with black and white images. Each card is inscribed with a note from the dancer thanking capezio for their ballet shoes. The ones that I've seen have included both female and male dancers from that era (Maria Tallchief, Patricia Wilde, etc.).

I am searching for any information on this set of cards including any type of checklist for this set. How were they distributed, how rare are they, etc.

I am also interested in any other type of ballet tobacco/cigarette cards from the late 19th/early 20th century that anyone may know of. I'm interested in information on these cards and perhaps places to purchase.

Any information would be greatly appreciated!

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Here is some information I have been given in response to your question. Hope it helps.

Maker - Capezio

Title – Famous Dancers Gallery

Number of cards in set – 12

Year of issue - 1950

Current catalogue set value – 36 UK pounds

Available on-line from Murray Cards London (code CCG 200).

Murrays also have various other cigarette and trade card sets related to dance in their current on-line catalogue.

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I remember getting these. One or two would be in the box with your newly purchased toe shoes. Probably the late 1950s. My mother would take me by bus to downtown LA Capezio store since in those years there was no where to buy toe shoes in the burbs. Oh how I wish I had saved those cards!

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Thank you for the info! I emailed Murray Cards and have not heard back yet, but it says that there were 12 different dancers featured. I know of 10:

Maria Tallchief

Patricia Wilde

Nora Kaye

Michael Maule

Francisco Moncion

Herbert Bliss

Frank Hobi

Todd Bolender

Diana Adams

Yvonne Mounsey

So, I'm missing two but have some duplicates and would be more than willing to trade!

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All New York City Ballet. Did they have other series, with dancers from other companies?

P.S. Google just answered my question. Here's a pdf file of a program from the Montreal Theater Ballet (1956) with an ad for the complete list of Capezio cards. It appears that Ballet Theater and the Ballet Russe de Monte Carlo were also well-represented.


Scroll down to page 2.

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In fairness to Capezio, this was a U.S. company, trading almost exclusively in the U.S., at a time when there was very little exposure in this country to international ballet companies Theare were no dvds, no films, only the tentative beginnings of visits to by American cities by the largest international companies. Soviet artists rarely travelled to the West on their own. Didn't the first Bolshoi tour to the U.S. take place in the mid-50s?

On the other hand, the biggest stars of London, Paris, Copenhagen, and (yes) the Soviet Union were known to ballet people through specialty ballet magazines. I can imagine that a "Famous Dancers of International Ballet" would have had an American audience, though not as much we in the 21st century might think.

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