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

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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.

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

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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.

Historic for cover more of QS 300.jpeg

Historic for cover more of QS 300 2.jpeg

—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:

Screen Shot 2017-07-28 at 9.03.01 PM.png

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

Goodall cards cropped.jpg

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:

Historic for cover more of QS 300 5.jpeg

Historic for cover more of QS 300 6.jpeg

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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A beautiful, early Goodall Bézique box . . .

This is a box I acquired recently on eBay, from bluemalchut.

I don’t know exactly when it was issued, but it has to be pretty early. I think it is safe to say that Goodall’s first Bézique sets were issued in 1868, and I suspect that this box is from around that time. It’s from a four-pack set. (The contents are gone.)

There is an interesting label on the inside of the cover. (I do have a complete Goodall Bézique set that has a similar label — scaled down, because it is from a two-pack set.)

The label does not tell us who wrote The Royal Game of Bezique, but it does say that Goodall’s Bézique sets come with “concise rules written by an experienced player.”

My recently acquired box is very sturdy, and of somewhat complex construction. It is basically what I would call “cardboard.”

The top:

Historic for cover more of QS 300 1.jpeg


The front:

Historic for cover more of QS 300 2.jpeg


—Tom Sawyer

July 28, 2017

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Another possible cover-design . . .

Do any of you know whether anyone (other than Goodall) has ever issued Goodall’s Historic Playing Cards (as seen on the cover design below)?

I believe that Fournier issued their version of Goodall’s Historic Shakespeare Playing Cards, but I have not seen anything one way or the other on the Historic cards shown in the cover design below.

Possible front-cover:

Screen Shot 2017-07-26 at 3.08.39 PM.png

Possible back-cover:

Screen Shot 2017-07-26 at 3.11.47 PM.png

—Tom Sawyer

July 26, 2017

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The current title-page and frontispiece of my forthcoming bibliography of Professor Hoffmann’s “Goodall” booklets . . .

These could change, but I am so far along that it’s unlikely these will change much, if at all. This shows the current layout of the quite grandiose title-page, and the facing page (with frontispiece portrait of Professor Hoffmann).

Screen Shot 2017-07-25 at 10.57.37 PM copy a bq.jpg

—Tom Sawyer

July 25, 2017

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