A few years ago I was looking for a colour litho William Gillette (the first stage actor to portray Sherlock Holmes) cigarette card, of the large variety commonly accompanied miniature cigars in the early teens of the Twentieth Century and was pretty surprised that no Sherlock Holmes or Conan Doyle cigarette cards were produced until the British TURF set in 1923, and after that only a few featuring Basil Rathbone as part of various Film Stars sets. Given Holmes' penchant for chain smoking - mostly his pipe - but cigarettes on at least one occasion, it seemed that a cigarette or mini-cigar card tie-in would be a natural choice for a cigar brand. I wondered what a Sherlock Holmes / Conan Doyle series would look like if it had been released by Mecca, Helmar or Hassan in 1912 or 1913 and included characters not in the Turf series, like Mycroft Holmes Henry Baskerville and The Lost World's Professor Challenger.
I wondered that for 2 years.
And then I made one.
A.C.D.C. is what you might find packed with your miniature cigar in 1912. Though it is slightly taller to make it accessible to today's collectors of standardised 2 1/2 by 3 1/2 inch trading cards, not much else is different. Most of the backgrounds are yellow, gaslight tinged and based on BETWEEN THE ACTS Famous Actors series, or white crosshatch of J.C. Leyendecker's pre-WWI illustrations. Sixteen cards feature Doyle's most iconic, and colourful characters. The illustrations are as close to the original Sydney Paget source material as possible. I stayed away from the standard depiction of Holmes in a deerstalker and trenchcoat with a magnifying glass.
Included with the base set, for all pledges $28 and over is an original hand-drawn sketch card of one of the 16 subjects in the set, and maybe even a few others! Sketch cards will be inserted randomly in the retail versions but Kickstarter backers will receive a sketch of the character of their choice!
As always I will be offering prints for this set. This will be the only time these prints will be available, as I am not in the print business. I usually get requests for prints after the campaign has ended but only print enough to fulfill rewards, so if you want them, pledge now! Hang these stunning 8 1/2 by 11 inch prints in your home, opium den, Baker Street apartment, or Scottish Manor with pride!
An array of rewards is offered for this project. Like my previous projects, prints will only be available through Kickstarter and will not be available for retail. So pledge now if you want them!
Risks and challenges
As usual, the artwork is 90 percent complete, aside from colour, contrast, brightness correction, correcting eye and hair colour, spelling corrections, and minor details of that nature. There is always some frustration and delays from dealing with a commercial printer, but once the funds are released, essentially all there is to do is click a few buttons to send printing orders off. My previous three Kickstarters have all shipped no later than a few weeks off schedule. I've been doing this sort of thing for over a decade now, and shipped to every continent except Antarctica. (For some reason they don't like my work there)Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
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