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Rich’s and the collector’s cards

By Rikke Ruhe

In the Rich’s album ”Out in our beautiful country” from 1934 a collector’s card with a picture of the two rune stones and the South Mound at Jelling can be found. The album contains hundreds of collector’s cards, all of which draw attention to a historical sight, a town or a special landscape in Denmark. Jelling and the rune stones have a place on a page with collector’s cards from Vejle, Grejsdalen and Fredericia. The motif on the front page of the album is the newly built Little Belt Bridge, which at that time symbolised Denmark as a modern and progressive nation. One travelled around the country using the railway – the era’s modern and quick form of transportation. 

The text on the collector’s card about Gorm the Old and Harald Bluetooth’s rune stones explains what was known about Jelling at that time. The Rich’s album ”Out in our beautiful country”, 1934. In the picture it says: Nr.171. Jelling. The rune stones. In the village of Jelling c.9 km north-west of Vejle lie the country’s greatest prehistoric burial mounds and its two strangest rune stones. King Gorm erected the smallest and King Harald the largest as a monument to his parents Gorm and Thyra. The smallest stone is presumed to have been erected in the time 935-940, the largest around 980 AD; they are now located in the churchyard midway between the mounds. Of these the largest contained a burial chamber, which was opened in 1820, but had been plundered long before this and is now closed again; no chamber has been found in the southernmost mound.

The album was published by the coffee substitute makers C.F. Rich and Sons, established in 1834. The company merged with the Danish Chicory Factories in 1896 and became one of the country’s largest producers in the coffee substitute market. When most ordinary people needed to save on the housekeeping budget, expensive overseas coffee was made to go further by mixing in a substitute product. This was mainly made from chicory. The plant is known for its dangling stems and bright blue flowers and often grows along the ditches of country roads.  

The popular albums for collector’s cards came out between 1930 and 1964. The cards were found in the packets containing the coffee substitute and were collected by many. Rich’s in this way held on to customers, who made sure that coffee substitute was bought on behalf of their children, who could then complete their collector’s card albums. 

Behind the albums lay thorough research and preparation, and they often had an educational slant. In the 1930s and 1940s titles such as “Around the world with Rich’s”, “Travel with Rich’s”, “Our hard-working people” and “The joys of leisure” were brought out. In the latter of these albums the National Museum and the Open Air Museum had their own collector’s cards. On the National Museum’s card two interested guests are looking at the copy one of the Golden Horns.

The album ”Out in our beautiful country”, published by C.F. Rich and Sons in 1934.
Collector’s card from the album “The joys of leisure”, published by C.F. Rich and Sons in 1943.
Collector’s card from the album “The joys of leisure”, published by C.F. Rich and Sons in 1943.