The Series explained
In total 37 different Series of Inserts were issued by the Gremio between 1897 and 1910. The Series are individually numbered from 1 to 33, then A, B, C and the Special Series.
Each Series has a single theme (e.g. Actresses, Politicians, Royalty, Poets, Painters, Bullfighters) and the Inserts show pictures or drawings of subjects from the theme. Click here to see a list of all the Series.
The Series identifier (1-33, A, B, C, Especial) can be found on the top of the Insert together with the Insert number itself.
There are three exceptions to this : Series 29, 30 and Special Series have no numbering on the front because it is on the reverse of the Insert.
In some cases the word ‘Serie’ is written in full and in others is abbreviated to ‘Se’ (‘SE’), or ‘Sie’ (‘SiE’).
- The Series number for Series 4, Series 6 and Series 8 has a lower case letter “a” after the Series number. These letters “a” are, however, almost indiscernible
- The Series number for Series 7, Series 9 and Series 15 appears with an upper case (capital) letter “A” after the Series number and slightly raised in relation to that number
The letters “a” or “A” after the Series Number are the Spanish equivalent of the English form of ‘th’ as in fourth, sixth, seventh, eighth, ninth and fifteenth.
THE SIGNIFICANCE OF SERIES 18
By 1900 the Gremio had issued 15 Series of Inserts, including five different colour variations of Series 15. However, the public were becoming irritated by the repeats of Series 15 and demanded new Series. The Gremio also realised that the money from sales of the collectors’ sheets was going into the Artists’ pockets. This led them to make two important decisions :
- to immediately commission Series 16 and 17 of the Inserts
- to commission collectors’ albums for Series 18 onwards, sales of which would be controlled directly by the Gremio
This is why the collectors’ sheets stopped and the albums started, and probably explains why no collectors’ sheets were produced for Series 17. This is also the reason why we show the Inserts in three groups : Series 1 to 17, Series 18 to 33 and Series A, B, C and Special.
The collectors’ album for Series 18 was the first time the title of a Series was published – “Grandes Guerreros de la Historia” (Great Historical Warriors in English). None of the collectors’ sheets had titles, so there are no ‘official’ titles for Series 1 to 17.
The back of each album listed the titles of each Series available so far, and sometimes advertised the next Series. Click here to see the rear pages of all the albums.
The album for Series 31 was the last one to be issued, probably in 1908, and gives us the most comprehensive list of all the ‘official’ Series titles together with the purchase price for each album, as shown in the table below.
Also printed on the back of the album for Series 31 is :
- Se halla de venta en todos los estancos, cafes, Cruz, 1 (sellos), Puerta del Sol, 1 (libreria y Asociación de Escritores y Artistas, Alcalá, 18 (libreria).
- Hay en deposito hojas sueltas (sin biografía par coleccionar las Series 1 á la 17, componiendo cada colección ocho hojas con alegoría á la Serie que le corresponda, al precio de UNA CINCUENTA PESETAS cada colección. Los pedidos a D. Andres Sanchez Alfonsetti, Espiritu Santo, 33 – MADRID
Translated, this means :
- They are for sale in all tobacconists, cafes, and from the following shops: Cruz, 1 (postage stamps); Puerta del Sol, 1 (book shop and Writers and Artists Association); Alcala, 18 (bookshop)”. Note: The dictionary definition of ‘estanco’ is not only “tobacconist”, but also “government store where monopoly goods are sold”.
- Special (blank) sheets are available for collecting Series 1 to 17. There are eight sheets for each series and they cost 1.5 pesetas per series. They are available from: Sr. D. Andrés Sánchez Alfonsetti, Espiritu Santo, 33 – MADRID.
Series 32, 33, A, B and C did not have albums, so once again there are no ‘official’ titles for these Series. However, based on the subjects shown on the Inserts we have given each Series a title as shown here.
- Note that for Series 31, the “Sitios” in the title was a famous siege in Spanish history which took place during the “War of Independence”. The date, 2nd May, 1808, is connected and therefore this Series is believed to have been issued in 1908.
- Also, the Special Series refers to Don Quixote, published three hundred years earlier than the insert Series, in 1604.
Series 15, 16 and 17 had “Index Cards” which were designed to assist the collector keep a note of which Inserts they had collected. Click here to see these Index Cards.
A number of unusual Inserts are known, which are variants of the standard ones. Click here to see these Variants.
The Inserts were cut individually from large sheets of card. Click here to see some Printers’ Sheets.
Well-known Actresses from stage and (silent) screen appeared on Series 1 to 8 and then in Series 13 and 15. These were typically music-hall / vaudeville artists who sang and danced as well as acted. Click here for more information on the Actresses.