More on Zetema and its booklet, and “beggars can’t be choosers” . . .

I have not been posting much here lately, but I have done a moderate amount of card-game work behind the scenes, largely in connection with many great images that David Levy has communicated to me.

I’ll undoubtedly discuss a lot of that in the future.

In this post, I want to return to Walter Pelham (or William Taunton), whom I have discussed quite a bit in other posts (largely thanks to Mike Goodall).

One of my operating premises is that Pelham designed the cover of Rules and Directions for Playing the New & Fashionable Game of Zetema, as published by Joseph Hunt & Sons. A reproduction of the cover of that booklet is shown in another post.

Recently I acquired (from no1swimmer, on eBay) a copy of a Hunt booklet on Bezique, with a similar cover. (I’m sure I will talk about that soon.)

This caused me to check into the Zetema situation , and I see that a beautiful Zetema set had appeared on eBay — “when,” I do not know.

Here is a link to the WorthPoint information on the set: Link.

One problem: The listing indicates that the booklet is not complete. I cannot figure out exactly what it is missing.  The images imply (to me) that the back cover is missing. The listing indicates that “the back page of the rules” isn’t there. But the images seem to show advertisements that one might assume are on the final page of the interior of the booklet. In either case, this would be considered a huge defect in the booklet.

But my assumption has always been that the Zetema booklet is a rarity, and as they say, beggars can’t be choosers!

—Tom Sawyer

June 14, 2018

Posted in Uncategorized

So, why didn’t I deal with 2012 and 2018 in my previous post?

I now have a listing on eBay through which I am offering (for sale at a fixed price) copies of my bibliography of Professor Hoffmann’s card game booklets. I published that last year.  The first printing was quite small. You should be able to find the listing if you use search terms like Sawyer bibliography Hoffmann.

So, why didn’t I deal with 2012 and 2018 in my previous post?

It couldn’t be because those years kind of ran contrary to the evidence of the five years shown, could it?

Sorry, that’s not the way I roll.

I didn’t deal with 2018, because we are not even halfway into it.

I left out 2012 for no particular reason.

Here are the top posts from those years from my WordPress Stats page:

Top two posts for 2012:

Top two posts for 2018:

Note:  The scarcity and rarity post was posted in 2014, so it does not appear for 2012 or 2013.

—Tom “That’s Not the Way I Roll” Sawyer

May 19, 2017

Posted in Uncategorized

Looking at some stats from prior years . . . also, my 2017 bibliography is again available for purchase on eBay . . .

I now have a listing on eBay through which I am offering (for sale at a fixed price) copies of my bibliography of Professor Hoffmann’s card game booklets. I published that last year.  The first printing was quite small. You should be able to find the listing if you use search terms like Sawyer bibliography Hoffmann.

This blog has now been running a long time, something over seven years.

In looking at some stats that are available to me (on my stats page on WordPress), I have occasionally been struck by the constancy of interest in some posts, and non-interest in others.

Here are lists of the top five posts, based on “views,” from 2013 through 2017, from my Stats page. As I have said before, these stats can be misleading, but overall they probably present a fairly accurate picture.

You can ignore the posts at position five in each list. There are two posts (both dealing with Camden’s Bezique booklet) that were in the top four posts ALL FIVE YEARS! The TOP POST in four of the five years was a post on scarcity and rarity.

If you ignore the problem of different editions, the Bezique booklet is probably the most common. It probably appears on eBay more than any others.  I suspect that the high ranking is because of sellers doing research on the items they are listing.   : (

—Tom Sawyer

May 19, 2018



Posted in Uncategorized

(Non-Goodall.) An isolated post about the discussion on the Erdnase thread of the Genii forum . . .

I recently took down my S.W. Erdnase blog (for the time being), so this blog may have to tolerate occasional posts on the S.W. Erdnase situation! I didn’t really want to say anything about this, but it has kinda been bugging me, and nobody has said anything about it on the Erdnase thread of the Genii forum.

On the Erdnase thread, Richard Hatch tactfully asked for clarification of certain statements that had been made by Scott Lane. Hatch said, in part (link):

If MFA [Milton Franklin Andrews] had nothing to do with the [Erdnase] book, then they [certain specified things] don’t seem to help and would fall in the category of unrelated coincidences. Ditto any association with the author of the Wizard of Oz.

That may not make a lot of sense to those not following the Erdnase thread, but you probably get the drift.

Lane replied on the thread as follows (link), as to the second sentence quoted above:

It seems like you [i.e., Hatch] have drawn a conclusion, within your question, prior to me having a chance to respond to your question and present my rationale. That is the definition of research bias. I do believe that even the smallest “smidgen” of research bias can derail any research project.

I find this to be insulting to Hatch, and more than a little condescending. (Notice, too, there is no statement of any “rationale.”)

And what was the “conclusion” that was spposedly drawn? I have no idea, unless it was the obvious one that there is no immediately evident role that L. Frank Baum played in connection with The Expert at the Card Table. But I don’t consider that a conclusion as such. It is more in the nature of a fundamental fact that has yet to be refuted.

Hatch is one of the top two or three people in the world in terms of knowledge and understanding of the whole Erdnase-authorship case, and many would say he is THE top person, period.

I myself never have had, and never will have, anything near Hatch’s knowledge of the Erdnase-authorship facts, or his understanding and command of the whole area.

Hatch has shown a greater amount of genuine fair-minded interest in even some of the weaker “Erdnase cases” than I ever have, and to the best of my knowledge there is no one in the field who is less apt than Hatch to draw unsupported conclusions about any candidate or about any argument for or against any candidate.

What I don’t “get” is why “I” have to be the one to go on record with this!

Woe is me for caving in and posting on this — but for some reason no one else has. I feel a little sorry for myself, because I have been trying to distance myself formally from everything having to do with Erdnase!

I have plenty of problems with Lane’s facts and arguments (which are voluminous and in more-or-less constant flux), but it would take me far more time to develop my claims than I care to spend at this time. After all, one of the main reasons I have dumped my Erdnase blog (for the time being) is that it has been siphoning off too much of my time.

It might not be a bad idea for Lane to develop and refine his case for his candidate, and maybe do a little condensing and synthesizing, rather than repeatedly inviting questions and then criticizing someone who has asked for clarification in just about as kind and roundabout a way as can be imagined.

As may be obvious, Hatch is a friend of mine.

I will say this: I almost never publicly take anyone to task on anything relating to Erdnase. I figure life is too short to bicker with others on a topic that is supposed to be a fun hobby. I have tried to keep my remarks above temperate and tame. The only other time I have censured anyone in an Erdnase context (as far as I can recall) was when someone took potshots at another friend of mine (Hurt McDermott), who had passed away and was unable to speak on his own behalf.

I probably will not leave this post up permanently, by the way—so sooner or later it may just disappear.

—Tom Sawyer

January 19, 2018

Posted in Uncategorized

A further communique from David Levy regarding Frederic Jessel . . .

If there exists a fixed point that lends dignity and significance to the collecting of card-game booklets published by Goodall, and if that fixed point can be represented by a specific person, I suspect that such a person is Frederic Jessel.

Of course, Jessel’s time was long ago, and that raises an interesting question. If he were alive today, what kinds of contributions to the bibliographical literature of card games would he be making today? Would he operate a blog? Would he be contributing to this blog?

I suppose we will never know. But it seems clear that Jessel will always be the pioneer in the collecting of card-game booklets in general, and Goodall booklets in particular. For that reason it is a bit of a disappointment that so little is generally known about him.

Recently I received from David Levy further information relating to Jessel’s bibliography.

In a post not long ago, I said that, “I would speculate (but it is easy to be wrong when speculating on such things) that [Jessel’s] bibliography didn’t sell like hotcakes when it was first issued.”

David indicates that this assertion “seems to be true.”

By way of backing this up, David sent me some highly interesting information, based on microfilm of the publisher’s archives. By way of background, David quoted as follows from one of the posts on his Hoyle blog: “Business records for the Longman firm survive and were published on microfilm by Chadwyck-Healey, with a printed index (see here for one library’s description of the archive).”

David states (in an email to me): “It’s hard to read the ledger (the original microfilm is somewhat better than the PDF), but it seems that 504 copies were printed in 1905. Copies were periodically sent to NY (the imprint is London, NY, and Bombay) and the ledger shows copies on hand at various intervals for a few years: ‘395 left June 1, 1907’ for example.”

David was kind enough to send me a PDF of one of the ledger pages (the one dealing with the Jessel bibliography). David is certainly right about it being difficult to read. In addition to the 1907 date and quantity quoted by David, the ledger appears to show 397 copies on hand as of June 1, 1906. The suggestion is thus that 2 copies were sold during the period June 1, 1906, through June 1, 1907. The totals of books on hand appear to be in addition to 18 copies available in New York.

Some of it I cannot really interpret, but overall, it looks as though a fair number were shipped to New York shortly after printing, perhaps 61 copies. It looks as though one copy was sold to a purchaser in India.

I may have a few details wrong, but the basic picture is that there was an initial flurry of sales during the first year, and after that, almost nothing during the second year.

David, thank you for the information!

—Tom Sawyer

January 11, 2018

Posted in Uncategorized

More of Goodall’s “Time’s Footsteps,” this time for 1881 . . .

Below are scans of portions of another one of the Goodall calendars in the “Time’s Footsteps” series. This one takes the form of a little booklet (about the size of a Bridge playing-card). The front and back covers are light card-stock (of one piece). The interior is on lighter paper-stock and consists of eight pages.

I assume that there is a version of this distributed in England, but this one has content customized for distribution in the United States. For example, you can see in one of the images that the “Value of Foreign Money” (now of course far out of date) converts values into dollars and cents. I hope to get into that further in the future.

The calendar itself (not shown here) is on the inside front-cover.

Here are the front and back covers (back on the left, front on the right).


Below are pages [2] and [3].

Scan 1.jpeg

Below are pages [4] and [5].

Scan 2.jpeg

—Tom Sawyer

January 5, 2017

Posted in Uncategorized

The Jessel “errata slip” (based on help from David Levy) . . .

A while back, I saw a reference to a copy of the Jessel bibliography with an errata slip. I spent a moderate amount of time trying to find out exactly what this might be. In particular, I entertained the idea that Jessel might have published an extended list of errors in Notes and Queries (which might have been repeated on a slip), but I did not find anything along those lines.

But an inquiry to David Levy brought from him an image of a Jessel errata slip found in a copy of the book in his collection (cropped and lightened version shown here):

Screen Shot 2018-01-03 at 3.56.01 PM copy.jpg

I was a bit disappointed that the thing was so . . . brief, and also that it basically involved merely a couple of numbering errors.

Without getting into details here, from what David told me, the foregoing corrections were made at some time during the first printing, assuming that there was only one printing.

Much more tantalizing was David’s statement that the copies of Jessel at the Bodleian Library have “hundreds and hundreds of corrections.” David further states that the Hoyle section has “many dozens”! Now that was all quite surprising to me, and I suspect that few are aware of any of this.

In another communication, David states that the Bodleian possesses “a huge manuscript ledger volume that [Jessel] used to compile the bibliography, but continued to update throughout his life.”

This was complete news to me.

It all suddenly depicts a bibliography that could have been noticeably better than it already was. (It is no secret that I consider Jessel an outstanding bibliography.) I suspect that the updating of the ledger, and the corrections, were inspired to some extent by a desire to issue a corrected and enlarged edition, and I would speculate (but it is easy to be wrong when speculating on such things) that the bibliography didn’t sell like hotcakes when it was first issued.

Jessel does say, in part, in the Preface to his bibliography:

Screen Shot 2018-01-03 at 7.42.46 PM.png

(The above image is based on the digitized version (digitized by Google)
of a copy at Harvard University, via the Hathi Trust Digital Library.)


—Tom Sawyer

January 3, 2018

Posted in Uncategorized | 1 Comment

Another Goodall calendar, this one for 1876 . . .

I’ll probably get into this in more detail in the future, but there is more to the picture than one might think based on the calendar shown below.  Specifically, there is another card with an image on one side and what one might call “useful information” on the other. And I cannot escape the suspicion that these two cards are the front cover and back cover of a fuller publication. But at the moment, I think that Goodall issued these things in various forms.

Scan 3.jpeg

Scan 4.jpeg

—Tom Sawyer

December 30, 2017

Posted in Uncategorized

Happy New Year!

I have not been posting much on this blog in recent months.  I guess I figured, on some level, that the appearance of my bibliography of Professor Hoffmann card-game booklets was an indication that things are still going on in the card-game booklet sphere!

I hope that all reading this will have a happy new year, and a good 2018!

Below is pictured an 1881 Goodall calendar, made doubly interesting by the advertising thereon relating to a New York business.

Scan 2.jpegScan 3.jpeg

—Tom Sawyer

December 28, 2017

Posted in Uncategorized

What does a collection of card-game booklets look like?

What does a collection of card-game booklets look like?

Earlier today, I placed most of my Goodall booklets into a box.  This is sort of what that looks like:

Screen Shot 2017-09-29 at 3.40.34 PM copy 2.jpg

This includes only “Goodall” booklets, but it does include some that appeared after Goodall was more or less absorbed by De La Rue.

(In addition to those pictured, I have just counted 25 more Goodall booklets not pictured, and 26 De La Rue booklets. I am pretty sure I have a few more as well. As to other publishers, I probably have only about a half-dozen card-game booklets in all.)

—Tom Sawyer

September 29, 2017

Posted in Uncategorized

The likely cover for “Victorian-Age Conjuring Books: A Guide for Collectors and Bibliographers” . . .

The following is what I will very likely use (or something very close to it):

Screen Shot 2017-09-14 at 11.53.15 PM.png

That is based on the cover found on a reprint of Drawing-Room Conjuring, which was a translation (from the French) by Professor Hoffmann. The book was first published (in book form) in 1887.  (Oh, this is the 130th anniversary year.  Cool!) Earlier, it had been serialized in Every Boy’s Magazine.

Here is what the planned back cover and spine (and front cover again) look like.  The vertical black lines show the edges of the spine.

Screen Shot 2017-09-14 at 11.52.42 PM.png

—Tom Sawyer

September 15, 2017

Posted in Uncategorized

A super-quick but highly interesting factoid . . .

I see on David Levy’s “Edmond Hoyle, Gent.,” blog that the George Clulow collection of books relating to playing cards has been acquired by Vanderbilt University. This includes (according to a Vanderbilt website) ancillary materials, including, if I understand correctly, original Owen Jones playing-card designs. I suppose that those were done for De La Rue, because off hand, I cannot remember ever reading that Jones designed any cards for Goodall. As is well-known, the collection had been amplified by the US Playing Card Company.

The Vanderbilt site tells us that Jones: “. . . ushered in the standards of modern playing-card design with his tessellated and geometric patterns devised to thwart cardsharps and cheaters.”

That’s a new one on me, though I don’t really know anything about Jones.

Mike Goodall, in his main book about the Goodalls (Charles Goodall & Son: The Family and the Firm 1820-1922), states many interesting details about Clulow. The following facts are all from Mike’s book, pages 85-86. Clulow was born in 1835 and passed away in 1919. He worked for Goodall from about 1869 until 1887. He designed the trademark that shows “Good” and “All” inside a heart. Mike says: “Many of Goodall’s most striking card backs were designed by Clulow. He became Goodall’s Managing Partner in 1884.”

—Tom Sawyer

September 5, 2017

Posted in Uncategorized

The three author-bibliographies of my “youth” . . . Trollope, Carroll, and Haggard . . .

These recollections reach way back to the 1968-1970 period, at earliest, and to probably the mid-1970s at latest, so they may be somewhat “accuracy challenged.”

I want to talk about what may be the first author-bibliographies I handled. For a while, I have believed that I saw them when I was a student at UCLA, 1968-1970. But it may have been a bit later than that, as I explain below.

I was interested in Professor Hoffmann back then (and even before, actually). In 1969 I entered my Hoffmann collection (which had about 23 or so items in it at the time) in the Campbell Book Collection Competition, which was operated by UCLA. It was an annual event, and I am sure they still conduct the competition now.

Oops, correction.  I just checked UCLA’s web presence, and I found this:

The UCLA Library has placed the Campbell Competition on hiatus for 2015-16. During that time Library administrators will reconsider the program’s goals, its place within the Library’s services, and how best to meet the intent of its funders, including the Campbells, founders of the original bookstore serving the UCLA community.

That I find highly weird.  Nicely written, but saying almost nothing. And I suppose it is still on hiatus, even though we are well into 2017. Most people, including me, would think that such a reconsideration of the program could be completed in a month, two tops.

I will say this:  MY IMPRESSION is that a lot of the entries in the competition have not been what I would call “collections.” Instead, they seemed like mini-libraries. Like if I said, “I am interested in reading stories by A. Conan Doyle,” and after I year I find myself with a dozen paperbacks, and oh, look, a 1954 Grosset & Dunlap reprint (gee, that’s old!) of The Hound of the Baskervilles in fair condition, plus a recent printing of The Complete Sherlock Holmes, rounded out by a recent printing of The Lost World — and then I find out about the contest. And I enter!

Now it has been probably eight years or so since I looked into the competition in any detail, and the foregoing may be exaggerated, but you probably get my drift.

I have written about my involvement in the competition on one of my other blogs, but I don’t think those posts are accessible at the moment. Anyway, in 1969, my collection was awarded second place in the undergraduate division.  First place went to a collection of books by Lafcadio Hearn.

I put together a little bibliography for that (typewritten, and in fact I think my sister Diana probably typed it). And as I recall, I set forth transcriptions of the title pages, with the line-breaks indicated with slashes, so it looked rather professional. I believe that library system at UCLA has maintained on file the bibliographies that the students submitted.

There was a write-up on the results of the 1969 competition in The Daily Bruin and also in The UCLA Librarian.

I was very “into books” even then. As I recall, all of the entrants were given a few miscellaneous items, just for participating, and I think those were a bibliography of the Monitor and the Merrimack, and a sort of checklist of bindings designed by Margaret Armstrong. Weirdly, as I recall, I had already purchased examples of both of those at the library. (They were rather slight publications, and I am sure they were quite inexpensive.)

The second-place prize was a credit of $50 at a bookstore in Westwood. (I hope to check that to confirm what the amount was.) That was a decent amount of kale in those days. I never used the entire amount. The only thing I remember getting was a figurine of a Beatrix Potter character, which I gave to my sister.

Here is a cute story that I told on one of my other blogs:

I thought I would tell a little anecdote in connection with the competition. (It has been a long time, so this might not be completely accurate.) After the judging, a little reception was held, and the public could look at the collections, which were on tables in a room there at UCLA. A sweet elderly lady was asking me about my collection, and I told her a little about it.

So the lady picked up one of the books, and as I recall it was a copy of Drawing-Room Conjuring, translated by Professor Hoffmann, in beautiful condition, but highly fragile. It was a first edition, and it dated from 1887. I was cringing as she kind of examined it, but I wasn’t about to say anything about it. Soon, one of the people who was involved in the competition asked her (probably in a gentle fashion) to refrain from handling it. My mistake was in not saying, “Oh, that’s okay, it’s fine if she looks at it.”

So, that’s the story.

But anyway, the two bibliographies I particularly remember from back in those days were (a) a bibliography (by Williams) of Lewis Carroll, and (b) a bibliography (by Scott) of H. Rider Haggard. I want to add (c) a bibliography (by Sadleir) of Anthony Trollope, though I am unclear on when I first saw that. I have never read much Lewis Carroll, nor Trollope, but I did read a lot of Haggard. But I think I started reading Haggard when I was in law school, which obviously was after I graduated from UCLA.

So in all probability I first saw the Haggard bibliography in the early 1970s.

My sister (also a UCLA grad) was employed at UCLA as an academic counselor, and I used to visit her pretty often, so I probably went to the library fairly frequently. As I sit here, though, I have not been there for ages. I did some research there when I was writing S.W. Erdnase: Another View, which was basically back in 1991. I’ve also used the UC Irvine library and my dear daughter did some Erdnase-related research for me at UC Berkeley in 2015 or so in connection with my Rethinking S.W. Erdnase.

By the way, I am simplifying by using the term “library.” The schools mentioned obviously have networks of libraries. I’m pretty sure that the Haggard bibliography at UCLA was in the Department of Special Collections.

Anyway, during the decades after I first saw those bibliographies, I have often thought wistfully about them. I obtained an example of Sadleir’s Trollope bibliography several years back. Recently I bought copies of the Carroll bibliography and the Haggard bibliography via, which listed several copies of each.  I thought that was kind of odd, because the 1934 Carrol bibliography was 700 or so copies, and the 1947 Haggard was 500 or so. (I’ll confirm these dates later — I am writing from memory.) I would have thought that those bibliographies would have been in the libraries of universities, researchers, and collectors. They may have been reprinted or largely superseded, but still.

I mentioned this to a friend, a longtime well-versed collector, and he forthrightly and succinctly, and I think a little bitterly, stated, “Bibliography is dead.” Well, it may not be dead, but I guess it is on life support as to many of the bibliographies that have been intended largely for collectors. This is proven somewhat by the dismal showing that my 2016 Professor Hoffmann and His Conjuring Serials of 1872-1888 has so far made. It is also shown by the scant interest that has been shown so far in my forthcoming A Bibliography of Card-Game Booklets Written by Professor Hoffmann.

You might say, “Yeah, Tom, but you have done almost nothing to market either of those.” True enough, but I actually think that if there was much interest “out there,” people would have learned about those works, and acted accordingly.

Emerson is quoted in many places as having said this, or something like it:

If a man has good corn, or wood, or boards, or pigs, to sell, or can make better chairs or knives, crucibles or church organs, than anybody else, you will find a broad, hard beaten road to his house, though it be in the woods.

Get it?

—Tom Sawyer

August 30, 2017

Posted in Uncategorized

I have received the books from the printer, but it will be a while before any are distributed or offered for sale!!!

Today I took possession of 53 copies of A Bibliography of Card-Game Booklets Written by Professor Hoffmann. They are in two boxes which arrived earlier today, and which I have not opened yet.

There is a certain amount of customization that I expect to implement regarding copies of the bibliography, and that is going to take some time and experimentation.

Also, I am heavily involved with another project which I want to complete before I offer copies of the bibliography for sale.

Then again, I have to (or want to) allocate time to other miscellaneous activities. Half of my problems (okay, I exaggerate) in life have been related to faulty predictions as to when I expect to be finished with various projects. I hope to avoid that in this case.

I’ll probably post little updates from time to time!

—Tom Sawyer

August 29, 2017

Posted in Uncategorized

A little more on “The Bijou Hoyle” . . .

Here are a couple more relevant images. The Bijou Hoyle consisted basically of the texts of the Warne’s Bijou Books on the topics of (a) Whist; (b) Cribbage and dominoes; and (c) chess. (The capitalization may look strange in that sentence, but I like to capitalize the names of specific card-games [but not classes of card games, like patience games or round games]; and it does not seem right to capitalize “dominoes,” or (especially) “chess.”)

As I mentioned before, the Whist book in the Warne’s Bijou Books series appears to be quite scarce. I think the other two are more plentiful. At any rate, I have copies of the other two, though not first editions.

I’m not going to include a lot of discussion in this post.  I think the images are pretty self-explanatory.


Screen Shot 2017-08-11 at 11.16.22 PM.png

Warne copy adj.jpg

The playing card is shown in order to demonstrate the scale.

Screen Shot 2017-08-11 at 11.22.18 PM.png

I don’t know what game this couple is playing, but it does not appear to be Cribbage:

Screen Shot 2017-08-11 at 11.31.05 PM.png

—Tom Sawyer

August 11, 2017

Posted in Uncategorized

Warne’s “The Bijou Hoyle,” from Warne’s Bijou Library . . .

A recent little bit of email communication with David Levy had to do (in part) with Frederick Warne and Co., and that caused me to glance at a few of my Warne publications.

I’ve written about this book on this blog before, at some length, in fact.

But I’m not sure whether I ever posted any images of it before.

Warne 8 9 17 bq.jpg

It’s a dynamite little book, roughly the size of a playing card.  It includes the bodies (and fabulous colored frontispieces, one of which is shown here) of three of the books in the “Warne’s Bijou Books” series.

It includes Handbook of Whist, which I believe to be quite scarce. I suspect that The Bijou Hoyle is kinda scarce as well.

—Tom Sawyer

August 9, 2017

Posted in Uncategorized

A comparison of the queen of diamonds from two of Goodall’s Historic Playing Cards sets . . .

Update on my bibliography of Professor Hoffmann’s card-game booklets: Today I submitted the book to the printer. (I am not ready to predict when I will have copies for sale.)

I already discussed the variations in the back-designs of two packs of Goodall’s “Historic” playing cards, in the preceding post.  At this time, I want to address briefly certain differences between the two queens of diamonds.  I probably could have selected any two court cards from the packs and made a similar comparison.

Mike Goodall discusses certain variations within the various packs in the “Historic” (“costumes of four reigns”) packs in Chas. Goodall & Son: The Family and the Firm 1820-1922. Mike mentions small and large indices, presence of a joker, different aces, and “modified courts” (suits changed around), and also the different back-designs, and gilt edges versus no gilt edges, and patience size versus usual size.

One of my packs has a blank card. Well, it isn’t totally blank, but it does not represent any specific card. The other has neither a joker nor a blank card. From Mike’s list, one might infer that the joker is usually not present. In cases where a joker is not present, I do not know whether a blank was always included originally.

At the moment, I don’t think I’ll go into many differences, whether real or imagined.  But I’ll show a “head” from each card.

Screen Shot 2017-08-06 at 5.33.14 PM.png

Screen Shot 2017-08-06 at 5.34.16 PM.png

And here are the other two heads, from the other end of the cards.

Screen Shot 2017-08-06 at 5.39.29 PM.png

Screen Shot 2017-08-06 at 5.39.58 PM.png

The top image in each set above is from the TOP card below. It should be immediately evident from the foregoing, as well as from the images below, that the coloration of the top card is more vivid, more intense, and probably more contrasty than the bottom card. The colors of the bottom card are moderated and far more subtle.

Comparison of Historic packs copy bq.jpg

I guess that’s it.  Your reaction will either be, “It’s absurd to point to such differences,” or, “That’s awesome — the two queens are demonstrably different!”

—Tom Sawyer

August 6, 2017

Posted in Uncategorized

A look at the back-designs of two similar packs of Goodall’s Historic Playing Cards . . .

Update on my bibliography of Professor Hoffmann’s Goodall booklets:  I am basically finished with the proofreading. I have had to iron out one or two other little difficulties. I’ll probably basically check it over once or twice quickly — that sort of thing. I’ll probably submit it to the printer on Thursday or Friday.

Chas. Goodall and Son’s naming of their “Historic” cards is a little confusing. But unless there is some sort of a qualifier (as in “Historic Shakespeare Playing Cards”), the term “Historic” (with reference to Goodall cards) probably applies to the cards wherein the court cards portray “the Royal Costumes of four reigns in English History,” to quote from one of the advertisements.

Below is a scan showing Professor Hoffmann’s Rubicon Bézique (top), 1895, and his Ecarté, also 1895. An example of an advertisement for each pack is shown.

Historic for cover more of QS 300 1.jpeg

There are a number of discussions of Goodall’s Historic Playing Cards on the internet, but the ones I have seen leave me with various questions.  The most methodical treatment of the packs (as far as I am aware) is on page 26a and 26b of Mike Goodall’s Chas. Goodall & Son:  The Family and the Firm 1820-1922.

Mike’s book breaks them down into eight basic back-designs (actually, under “H.8” there are two different backs), but there are variations within several of those, and in all there are mentioned over a dozen variations.

But the possible complexities are almost endless, and it seems as though one would need to have access to many decks in order to hope to figure out all of the possible variations.

Anyway, I want to draw attention to two packs in my possession. They would generally fall under the “H.7” heading in Mike’s book mentioned above. Here is a scan of one card from each pack:

Historic for cover more of QS 300 3.jpeg

Based on that scan alone, it is pretty clear that the two backs are different.  The one on the left is more purple, and the one on the right is more chocolate.

Some might say that’s a pretty silly distinction.  (Some, not me.) But there are other differences, and I suspect that the most obvious is the fact that the flowers on the left are solid pink (in different shades), while the flowers on the right include a lot of white.

That is probably more clear in the following detail.

Historic for cover more of QS 300 4.jpeg

Below is shown a different detail:

Historic for cover more of QS 300 5.jpeg

This may leave one with the question of whether there are differences between the two packs, with respect to the “fronts” of the cards.  I hope to get into that topic in my next post.

–Tom Sawyer

August 1, 2017

Posted in Uncategorized

Re a little booklet I issued eons ago . . .

I the course of my life, I have issued a few items which I set the type for and printed on my own little printing press. One of those was a little item I called Angelo Lewis: Other Than Magic. I do not believe that this was intended as much more than a keepsake, though it actually did include some cognizable content.

There were 26 lettered copies, and the “book” was — get this — about the size of a playing card. This was back in 1977. The first image shows the scale, with the booklet next to a Goodall booklet. The cover is a sort of wood-grained flexible material with (as I recall) adhesive on the reverse.  Overall, I think it looks fine. No all copies had that deluxe finish.  Some had covers of construction paper.

Historic for cover more of QS 300.jpeg

The next image shows the “lining” of the cover of this copy.  It is construction paper, and I believe that is the type of paper I used by itself on certain other copies.

Historic for cover more of QS 300 1.jpeg

Historic for cover more of QS 300 2.jpeg

Historic for cover more of QS 300 3.jpeg

The page on the right above is the last page with printing. It has a blank verso, and then there is a final leaf, blank on both sides.

—Tom Sawyer

July 31, 2017

Posted in Uncategorized

Something you don’t see every day — twelve examples of Professor Hoffmann’s “Bridge” . . .

Below are images of most of the copies of Professor Hoffmann’s Bridge in my collection. A couple of them have Bridge Whist covers, but the title page says Bridge.

Historic for cover more of QS 300.jpeg

Historic for cover more of QS 300 2.jpeg

—Tom Sawyer

July 30, 2017

Posted in Uncategorized