Charles Goodall & Son, and card-game rule-booklets as a genre

In this blog (unless the context indicates something else), when I refer to “card-game rule-booklets,” “booklets,” or the like, I am referring to the small booklets, about the size of a playing card, which were issued primarily during the last third of the 1800s and during the early 1900s (and actually somewhat after that as well).  Such rule booklets were published principally by two major playing-card manufacturers, namely Charles Goodall & Son and Thomas De La Rue & Co.

I expect that this blog will concentrate mainly on booklets published by Charles Goodall & Son.  In my collection, I do have a fairly extensive group of booklets published by Thomas De La Rue & Co., but overall, the Goodall booklets are more interesting to me personally.

The main area of concentration of this blog is the 1860s through 1922.  In (apparently) 1922, Goodall became a part of De La Rue.  Various terms have been used to describe what happened.  It has been called a “takeover” of Goodall.  It has been called the “purchase” of Goodall.  It has been called a “merger.”  It has been said that De La Rue “absorbed” Goodall.  The details, though, are somewhat complex.

Mike Goodall, in his book about the history of the Goodall firm, states that, “In the event it was their old rivals Thomas De La Rue who leaped at the opportunity of acquiring the Goodall name and know-how.”

While it seems reasonably clear that Goodall did not operate independently after it was acquired by De La Rue, the new situation is a bit difficult to understand.  Mike Goodall states that, “Identical packs were sold apparently haphazardly under the De La Rue and Goodall names . . . .”  Mike refers to (for example) “De La Rue packs with Goodall Ace of Spades and De La Rue Joker. . . .”  (I myself have a copy of Selected Patience Games, by Angelo Lewis, M.A., showing the date 1925 on the title page.  It shows Goodall as the publisher and has no reference to De La Rue.)


"Selected Patience Games."

Anyway, as I see it, the “golden age” of card-game rule booklets was really the 1860s through around 1920.  This is not to say that other collectors may not prefer to collect later booklets, but I myself have been trying to concentrate mainly on the earlier period.

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