The Game of “Old Maid”
Two different editions of “The Game of Old Maid” by the Chad Valley Games Co., Harborne, England.
“Old Maid” is a Victorian family card game probably deriving from an old gambling game in which the loser pays for the drinks. It is known in Germany as Schwarzer Peter and in Sweden as Svarte Petter (meaning "Black Peter"). These two “Old Maid” games were published by Chad Valley in c.1910 and 1920s or 30s in similar lid + bottom boxes with black and coloured stripes round the edges. The cards are presented as Mr & Mrs from various crafts, trades and professions, similar to in some Happy Families sets. The object of the game is to form matching pairs of cards but to try to avoid being the player left holding the “Old Maid” card, who is the loser. In these editions the “Old Maids” are depicted as feeding chickens or sitting stroking a black cat. See the Rules→