While the printership and distribution of this card set is unknown, it is thought that two separate companies, Package Confectionary Company, and United Candy Company (both of Boston, Mass.) each distributed the cards themselves; however, it is possible that Package was a subsidiary of United. In any case, cards have been found with printed matter for both companies (with two different backs for the Package Conf.).
The card fronts feature a color illustration of a sailing ship (not necessarily military), surrounded by a white border. The card backs gave the card number, then the ship type, and a paragraph of information, with (usually) the name of the printer at the bottom. Also included was the line 'This is one of the first-half (24) of a series of 48 picture cards of beautiful ships.' Only these first 24 have surfaced, however.
The cards actually came in packages of candy cigarettes. The United Candy and the Package Confectionary wrappers clearly state 'Pictures of Ships', while the Package wrappers more prominently display the name of the candy, 'Sailor Boy' or Ship Smokes.'
The American Card Catalog number for this set, R135, is divided between United Candy (R135-1) and Package Confectionary (R135-2).
Value: Individual cards in this vintage set, in Excellent condition, may cost between $12.00 and $25.00. Full sets of 24 cards can go for $300.00 to $600.00. Individual wrappers, which are nearly impossible to find in good condition, may go for as much as $100.00 to $250.00. Note: Neither company is considered more rare than the other as far as pricing is concerned.