Comments on Mike Goodall’s excellent acquisition: “Quinto: A New and Original Card Game” . . .

As I noted a couple of posts ago, last year Mike Goodall acquired a complete Quinto set as issued by Goodall.  Mike sent me a printout of a scan of a number of the components of the set, and in this post I want to address the set

Quinto in perspective

I’ll begin by attempting to place the game of Quinto, the Goodall booklet on Quinto, and the Quinto set, into perspective. When Professor Hofmann was still relatively young by our standards, say in his 60s, he began to develop a reputation as an inventor of card games, so much so that after he passed away in 1919, one of his obituary notices cited only one point of distinction about him, namely that he was an “inventor of card games,” as discussed in another post. He invented many patience games using the Joker, and as discussed elsewhere on this blog, the use by red Jokers by Goodall is related to those games. He also wrote the booklet Schnapps and Other Original Round Games, which consisted of games that Hoffmann invented. Support for the statements in this paragraph may be found elsewhere on this blog, and may be located with the “search” tool in the right margin.

Nowadays collectors can cite the titles of a number of Charles Goodall & Son titles that are extremely difficult to find, and which may be known in only a handful of copies, at most. Examples of these might be The Game of Ace Major and The Game of Check. Of course, outside of the Goodall arena, one thinks of Rules & Directions for Playing the New & Fashionable Game of Zetema, a Joseph Hunt & Sons booklet, interesting to Goodall collectors, in part because of its connections with William Taunton.

All right.  So Hoffmann was a card-game inventor. And the Goodall world knows of some extremely scarce pamphlets.  What about scarce Goodall pamphlets written by Hoffmann?  Of these, there appear to be four of particular note:  Hearts, Heartsette, and Ombre, and Bridge Varieties, and Schnapps and Other Original Round Games, and Quinto: A New and Original Card Game.

So, above I have mentioned a few intersections of different areas of interest. But is there another dimension to this situation?  Yes, indeed. Professor Hoffmann’s card game booklets for Goodall are part of a tapestry that makes up the broader sphere of Professor Hoffmann’s works of all kinds. Apart from the card game booklets (of which, by my reckoning, Hoffmann wrote about 16, Hoffmann also wrote (or edited or translated) about 30 other books. If judged by their small dimensions and soft covers, the card-game booklets by Hoffmann would be considered minor works. If judged by the number of words, several would probably be included with his major works.

As far as scarcity goes,. those four Hoffmann titles specified above are among Hoffmann’s scarcest works, in the same category with such Hoffmann items as Tips for Tricyclists and Home Gymnastics, and certainly harder to find than his Baccarat Fair and Foul.

For those who think that a Quinto booklet is a remarkable acquisition, well, yes, it is. But entire Quinto set is in a completely different category, and that is what Mike Goodall managed to acquire.

A complete set has quite a few components, including a scoring tablet, two packs of cards, including a special card known as “Quint Royal,” a booklet, and a card headed “Quinto. The ‘Club’ Scoring.”

Shown here are the front and back covers of the Quinto booklet. It’s quite an orthodox thing, very similar overall to many of Professor Hoffmann’s booklets for Goodall (and similar to many by other authors as well). As has been discussed a number of times on this blog, this front cover design can be said to be the work of William Taunton (based on information provided by Mike.) It is obviously a very attractive design, and its wide use (with some variations) by Goodall is one of the things that makes Goodall booklets fun to collect.

I am not sure when Taunton passed away, or when he last worked for Goodall, but I suspect that the lettering (title and author) is not by Taunton. (However, it is somewhat similar to lettering on the cover of Patience With the Joker, which in turn looks a little more Taunton-esque.) The publisher name and address here is a normal Taunton style.

The back cover is a pretty normal Goodall Ace of Spades design, which was used on a great many Goodall booklets.

Mike Quinto 4 15 15 covers3 144 front

The Quint Royal card

The cards in Mike’s set are a conservative design, with two different back-colors:  red, and blue. It is a beautiful design that is much to my liking: a fairly modern design of basically a floral or botanical nature. I suppose that these would be considered classic conservative cards, probably much in keeping with what Hoffmann would have thought was appropriate.  Two backs are represented, one red and one blue.

Mike Quinto 4 15 15 cards 72

There is also the Quint Royal card, which bears the words Quint Royal and portrays five crowns. This is not a particularly fancy card. I suppose Goodall could have done something really special with it, but they did not. Maybe this is simply the view of an American. Goodall & Son and Hoffmann may have thought it best to keep the card conservative. I’m not an expert on the crown jewels, but I consulted Wikipedia, and the crowns depicted on the card appear roughly analogous to the crown known as St. Edward’s Crown.

–Tom Sawyer

July 20, 2015

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