“Cover-design decay” as evidenced by the handling of the “Price Sixpence” area of the “principal” Goodall card-game booklet cover-design . . .

In the title to this post, I used the term “principal” to describe the basic design under consideration during the past several posts.  It is undoubtedly the most common basic Goodall design, and after several years into the twentieth century (not sure how many), it was (as far as I know) the only Goodall card-game booklet design.  I am not sure exactly when the changeover was complete, but I would guess that it was in the first decade of the twentieth century.

In spite of my blanket proclamation above, I wouldn’t be surprised if a few booklets of other designs were printed after the supposed complete turnover.

Anyway the following is a trick question, which I will answer immediately after asking it:

Of the four cover designs just dealt with in the preceding four posts, which of them are examples of ‘cover decay’ with respect to the ‘pure’ binding style?”

The anser to this question is, in my opinion:

You would expect the answer to be “three of them,” but the correct answer is “all four of them.”

First, it is obvious (as such things go) that the purest form (of the four) of the four is that of the 1911 Selected Patience Games.  The other four are clearly the victims of decay:

1.  One deleted the “design” and threw in a price, in place of the design.

2.  Worse than that is the version with no price.

3.  Worse than that is the version with the overprinted price.

The 1, 2, 3, above, is not really the sequence of the printings, and actually, as discussed earlier, there was some overlap in the use of those different versions, and interruption of one style with another.

Still, the purest is the 1911 Selected Patience Games.

But why is that Selected Patience Games also an example of cover-design decay?

Two reasons:

1.  First, and probably most important, has to do with the handling of the title.  It is obvious that the title and author were integral parts of the design of The Game of Ace Major, and also of The Game of Napoleon.  All four of the booklets discussed in the preceding four posts have problems in this respect.  Yes, there was a minimal amount of customization in The Royal Game of Bezique — not much, however.  Selected Patience Games and Auction Bridge have almost none.

2.  Secondly, and this is one of the nearly invisible — but still important — changes:  A design feature present in The Game of Ace Major and in The Game of Napoleon, is the following.  I am talking about the segment with the “dots” and little vertical components, and the material to both sides of that:

tgon 1 3 13abc

The above image is from an image Edward Copisarow kindly provided to me.  The whole image is in an earlier post.

Here again, none of the four booklets discussed in the preceding posts have that design attribute.

Some of the forgoing is based on guesswork!

—Tom Sawyer

January 4, 2012

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