1977 Doncella “The Golden Age of Flying”
24-Cards, Doncella Cigars, United Kingdom

  • Series Title: The Golden Age of Flying
  • ACC No.: n/a
  • Manufactured by: Doncella Cigars
  • Country: United Kingdom
  • Number of Cards: 24
  • Card Dimensions: 106 × 52 mm
  • Circa: 1977
  • Album: A “Wall Chart” was offered instead of an album.


To the aviation historian, airplane trading cards represent an interesting “portal” to the past. They illustrate what the key aviation events of that particular era were. This attractive set of 24 airplane trading cards concentrates on British aircraft from the pre-World War I era up through World War II. These “Doncella - The Golden Age of Flying” airplane cards were packaged in 1977 with Doncella Cigars. The cards measure 106 × 52 mm, and are numbered from 1 to 24 on the reverse side. The reverse side also includes a nicely condensed description of the aircraft. There was no album for the set, however a “Golden Age of Flying” wall chart was offered.


Display Wall Chart

There was no formal album for this series. Instead a “Golden Age of Flying Folder” that opened out to a wall chart was offered via the post. The buyer was to send a 25p postal order (crossed and made payable to John player and Sons) plus name and address to John Player and Sons, P.O. Box 55, John Player and Sons, Nottingham. To date, we have not seen this “Golden Age of Flying Folder”” and would appreciate a high-resolution scan (or scans) of the display folder. We also need to know the dimensions of the display folder.

Packaging or Wrapper

Currently we have no information about how this series was packaged and presented to the customer. Any insight would certainly be appreciated.


“The Golden Age of Flying”
Doncella Cigars, United Kingdom
N/AXCard Title
1Bristol Boxkite BAPC-2
2Blackburn Monoplane BAPC-5
3Sopwith Pup N5180 (G-EBKY)
4Avro 504K E3404
5Royal Aircraft Factory SE.5A F904 (G-EBIA)
6Bristol F.2b Fighter D8096
7Vickers Vimy H651 (G-AWAU)
8Hawker Tomtit K1786 (G-AFTA)
9Avro Tutor K3215 (G-AHSA)
10De Havilland Comet G-ACSS
11Bristol Boxkite BAPC-2
12Mignet Pou Du Ciel G-AEBB
13De Havilland Tiger Moth G-AYIT
14De Havilland Puss Moth G-ABLS
15Gloster Gladiator L8032 (G-AMRK)
16Fairey Swordfish LS 326
17Miles Magister P6382 (G-AJDR)
18Miles Messenger RG333 (G-AIEK)
19Westland Lysander R9125
20Hawker Hurricane Mk.IIC LF363
21Supermarine Spitfire Mk.Va AR501
22Avro Lancaster B1 PA474
23De Havilland Mosquito T3 RR299
24Fairey Firefly Mk.V WB271
n/a“Completion Offer” Card
n/a“The Golden Age of Flying” Wall Chart


John Shupek — John is retired Aeronautical/Aerospace Engineer that lives in Southern California. John's 36 year aerospace career/adventure started in the mid-1960s when he worked for Pratt & Whitney at their “FRDC” … Florida Research and Development Center, West Palm Beach, Florida. John was part of the P&W jet engine design team for the CIA/USAF's Lockheed A-12/SR-71A “Oxcart/Blackbird” engines (J58/JT11D-20). He also worked on the RL-10 rocket engine and the JTF-17A which was P&W's entry into the United States' SST competition between Boeing and Lockheed. Several years later, John moved back to California and worked at the AiResearch Mfg. Company at LAX and Torrance. He originally worked on the thermal design of the HRE (Hypersonic Ramjet Engine) which was a supersonic combustion Mach 7 ramjet engine that was to be tested on the North American X-15. John did about three more years of jet engine design work before he disappeared for 13 years into the classified DOE “GCEP” (Gas Centrifuge Enrichment Plant) Atomic Energy program for the enrichment of U235. After the GCEP program was cancelled by the DOE in 1985, John was hired by Northrop Aircraft to do the thermal design for Northrop's entry into the ATF (Advanced Tactical Fighter) competition, the Northrop YF-23A “Black Widow II” stealth supercruise fighter. He also worked on the Northrop Grumman B-2A “Spirit” stealth bomber. After several years on a classified stealth missile program, John worked the remainder of his Aerospace career as one of Northrop Grumman's Program Directors on the United States Navy's F/A-18E/F “Super Hornet” jet fighter program.

During John's career at Northrop Grumman he served for five years as Northrop's “Vintage Aircraft Club” Commissioner and the Curator and Webmaster for the Western Museum of Flight in Hawthorne, California. Several years later, John was the volunteer webmaster (for about 3 years) for the Yanks Air Museum, Chino, California. He also served as President and webmaster for two different NPO's after his retirement. The Whittier Historical Society & Museum and Whittier Meals on Wheels.

John's love of aviation history and aviation photography lead to the establishment of this website in 1998. The site has continued to expand and will always grow and will never be completed. It's sort of analogous to a snowball rolling down a hill without any trees to stop it. In approximately 2002, John remembered that he had collected Topps “Wings” (ACC# R707-4) airplane trading cards while in High School. Somehow the cards had disappeared over the years. So at this point, he started to re-collect airplane trading cards via eBay and become an airplane card “Image Collector” rather than a “Card Collector” per se. After John scans an airplane card for the website, he has no further use for it and he puts it back into circulation via eBay. John's mission statement for the is basically to restore and preserve high-quality card images/artwork associated with the various airplane card sets from the early 1900s to the present. These cards are wonderful historical “snapshots” into aviation history showing which aviation events and aircraft were important at that point in time. For the website, basically if it is a trading card collection that features things that fly, but doesn't have feathers, it is eligible for consideration on the website. John always welcomes inputs and high resolution scans (600-dpi) that can be used on this website. John can be reached via the “Contact Us” navigation button on the left.


  1. Shupek, John A., Card images via the Skytamer Archive

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