The games we play mirror the world we live in. Children don’t play card games any more because they prefer computer games, which are the ultimate excitement. Antique and vintage children’s card games offer nostalgic memories of the fashions and social stereotypes of past eras and are a study in social anthropology.
An ‘interesting and instructive’ Victorian card game showing Queen Victoria’s extended family connections, 1896
The “Boffie” Kwartetspel was designed by Huibert Vet and published by Albert Heijn in 1936
“Alibi” the thrilling card game by Haytor, Tor Productions, 1930s
Alice in Wonderland card game based on original designs by Sir John Tenniel published by Thomas De la Rue & Co. Ltd, c.1900
Animal Grab card game by Thomas De La Rue & Co., 110 Bunhill Row, London. Long before our awareness of endangered species or environmental activism became topical issues, these Victorian playing cards for children foster awareness of farmyard and countryside animals, inviting players to mimic the animals' characteristic calls.
The full set of this 'Snap' card game is believed to have 9 characters in sets of four, making a total of 36 cards: Mr Globe-trotter; Mr Feeble; A master-singer; Mr Boxwell; Mr Head-ball; Mr Rooster; Mr Tail-a-whip; Mr Valentine and Touch-me-not.
The founder of Ariel Productions, Philip Marx, was a prolific publisher of children’s books and comics towards the end of and just after the Second World War.
“Bargains” was designed by George Lambert for C. W. Faulkner & Co in c.1900
Belisha, published by Castell Brothers Ltd (Pepys Games) in 1937, was produced with a desire to make a helpful contribution to the national Safety First campaign.
Children’s toy cards published in Argentina by Editorial Atlántida in the magazine “Billiken”, 1964
The Birkel company has produced several promotional “Schwarzer Peter” packs over the years and this one is themed on the circus.
Black Peter card deck for children printed in Riga during World War II, believed to have been designed by a Latvian artist.
“Brighter Families” promotional card game for Cosmos Lamps (Metrovick), 1930
British Towns Card Game by Pepys Games (Castell Brothers Limited).
C. W. Faulkner & Co Ltd, London, an important publisher of games, pictorial souvenirs, children’s books, and postcards
Children's games are distinct from ordinary playing cards, with their most obvious difference being the lack of any court cards or suit marks.
Carreras Ltd miniature playing cards and dominoes, 1929
A “Questions & Answers” family game from France produced by Imagerie Pellerin.
“Castles” Quartet Illustrated by Vladimir Kovářík
A Victorian card game telling a story of a victim being ensnared in a trap, being caught, and finally escaping.
Chad Valley Co. Ltd (incorporating Johnson Brothers (Harborne) Ltd) the long-established UK brand bought by Woolworths in 1988 and now sold at Argos.
Chad Valley ‘Nursery Rhyme Snap’ 1950, depicting ten popular nursery rhymes
Chad Valley ‘Snap’ card game designed by Linda Edgerton, 1925
Chad Valley ‘Pantomime Snap’ card game, 1930
Chad Valley “Happy Families” card game, c.1950
“Old Maid” card game manufactured by Chad Valley Co Ltd, mid-1950s
Chad Valley Happy Families originally designed by Max Pollock (1887-1943)
This “Jeu de Familles” from the 1960s designed by Jean Bachès promotes Chambord glassware.
Change for a Shilling card game by Geo. Wright & Co., London, 1930s
Cheery Families card game designed by Richard Doyle and printed by De La Rue & Co., Ltd, c.1890
Mini-Poker miniature playing cards made in China.
Miniature children's playing cards depicting popular heroes and celebrities on the backs, Montevideo, c.1928
Chitrashala Press produced some charming children's pictorial alphabet cards for early learning purposes in the 1940s.
Four themed ‘Čierny Peter’ card games by Obchodní Tiskărny
Animals Quartet playing cards printed for Cigarrillos El Figaro, Peru, early 1900s
“Cine Manual” by Antonio Vercher Coll (1900-1934) and published by Reclamos Cimadevilla, Valencia, c.1927
How I began Collecting Playing Cards by Robert S. Lancaster
“Comic Families” card game from Australia, c.1940s
Jaques’ Counties of England card game
The Cow and Gate Happy Family game was issued around 1928 to promote nutrition products
Juegos de Cartas Cromy card games made in Argentina 1983-1995
cards from a 40-card children's "Questions and Answers" game. The Spanish suit signs have been changed to tambourines, yo-yos, swords and skittles. Printed lithographically in Cuba, c.1930.
Dartex, the Thrilling New Card Game of Skill (1938) based on the traditional pub game where darts are thrown at a circular target. The card game version contains a total of 52 cards (38 showing a dart board + 14 special cards) which act as the throws and, just as in the real game, good mental arithmetic is required.
“Das Lustige Familien Quartett” published by Eugen Schmidt K.G., Dresden, c.1930s
“Der Lohn des Fleisses”, a children's card game designed by Wilhelm Busch (1832-1908)
‘Derby’ card game from Czechoslovakia
‘Detektiv Fuk’ card game from Czechoslovakia
Disney playing cards from Peru
Disney Princess lenticular deck. Each card has two images, one when viewed straight on, and another when viewed from a side angle; both slightly 3D
District Messengers were uniformed young men wearing little pill-box hats and mounted on bicycles who fulfilled urgent tasks and were paid by the mile