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Art Deco-Germany 1934-37
Nazi Germany Tobacco Cards
Moritz Garbaty and his family (wife, Ella, and eight year-old son,
Thomas) escaped from Nazi Germany in December 1938. Just days before,
Moritz was the majority owner and President of one of the most
successful businesses in Berlin, the Garbaty Cigarette Company, started
by his father, Josef, nearly fifty years earlier.
While Josef and Moritz owned and managed the company, it was known for the multitude of popular cigarette brands it produced, its generous financial support of a local Jewish orphanage, and its worker-friendly environment, offering unemployment insurance, free meals in its cafeteria, a laundromat, a library, a choir, a newspaper, and even a sports club. Today’s vintage card collectors are familiar with the Garbaty Cigarette Company for producing (from 1934 through 1937) the three greatest sets of cigarette cards featuring film stars ever made. The Garbaty Film Stars Sets (1934 through 1937)
In the center of Nazi Germany’s prewar years, the Garbaty Cigarette Company released three sets of incredibly striking cigarette cards: Moderne Schonheitsgalerie (Gallery of Modern Beauty) in 1934; Galerie Schoner-Frauen Des Films (Gallery of Beautiful Women in Film) in 1936; and Film-Lieblinge (Film Favorites) in 1937. Each card has a full color, embossed surface, while the back of each card informs the collector of how to purchase an album (cost: one Reichmark) to house the cards. A cigarette brand logo and other information about the cost of the cigarette boxes in which the cards were inserted also appear on the backs. Interestingly, the word “Garbaty” is nowhere to be seen. While most cards measure 2 1/16 X 2 7/16, a select forty in the 200-card Film-Lieblinge set are much larger, measuring 2 7/16 X 3 1/4. These are part of my collection, I have about 1500 cards. Proof again of my pack rat lifestyle. I do think of all the tobacco cards I've seen on this subject that these are by far the best small pieces of fine art.