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.


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

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

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—Tom Sawyer

August 11, 2017

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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.

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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

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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.

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

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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.

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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

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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:

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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

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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.

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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

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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.

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—Tom Sawyer

July 30, 2017

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Another Goodall four-pack Bézique box, not as beautiful as the one discussed in the preceding post . . .

In the preceding post, I discussed a really nice Bézique box. It was the box alone, not a complete set.

A while ago (over two years ago), I acquired a complete set that overall must have been one of Goodall’s “budget” items.

The box is not in the greatest condition, but the top is still good.  Here is a scan:

Historic for cover more of QS 300.jpeg

Notice that the central design (on a label affixed to the box) is the same as that of the box discussed before.  Below is a black-and-white (and heavily edited) version of the center of the other box’s design, bringing out a lot of the lines more clearly:

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But back on the “current” box . . . it included four 32-card packs, each with a different back. Here are the backs:

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These backs are complex and attractive, but on the other hand they are kinda like wallpaper, highly repetitive within themselves and not the result of a whole lot of creativity.

They are not exactly what I think of when I ponder Goodall’s card-back designs.

As for the flip sides, the cards were printed in red and black:

Goodall cards from Bezique set.jpg


Cool looking, but again, probably indicative of a set that was a less expensive item.

Then there are the registers, not exactly deluxe models:

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The set was accompanied by a “Fourteenth Edition” of The Royal Game of Bézique. I suspect that the set dates from the early 1880s.

—Tom Sawyer

July 29, 2017

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