The World of Playing Cards Logo

Rufford Playing Cards

Rufford playing cards is one of several brand names used by Boots for their stationery department, and probably the most popular.

Rufford playing cards is one of several brand names used by Boots for their stationery department, and probably the most popular. Rufford playing cards came in several different styles of box, ace of spades and jokers over the years, all specially manufactured by Thomas De la Rue & Co. Some editions were linen grained, some had gold edges. As a rule the back designs were decorative patterns and did not advertise Boots. Rufford refers to the estate in the village of Rainworth, near Mansfield in Nottinghamshire, the site of a coal mine named Rufford after the estate. The Boots products were named after areas of Derbyshire and Nottinghamshire, so another card brand was Chatsworth and yet another was Pelham, also in Notts. Boots was based in Nottingham.


detail from Special Christmas Supplement to Boots the Chemist Christmas Gift Guide for 1926 Rufford playing cards, De la Rue Rufford playing cards, De la Rue Rufford playing cards, De la Rue

Above: examples of the earliest version of the ace of spades and joker. Most of the back designs were available in red or blue.

Rufford playing cards, De la Rue

Above: Top: earliest smaller courts (GD11) with white on QD's shoulder, c.1932-35. Bottom: large courts still with later Q-index, DLR joker and 1935+ bridge score, 1935-39. Images courtesy Ken Lodge.

Rufford playing cards, 1926-30

Above: earliest Q-index, Goodall anonymous ace of spades, c.1926-30. Images courtesy Ken Lodge.

Rufford playing cards, De la Rue

Above: Rufford boxes. Image courtesy Matt Probert.

Rufford playing cards, c.1946

Above: a print run (by Waddington) found in WCMPC packs of 1944 & 1945, so probably c.1946. Images courtesy Ken Lodge.

Rufford playing cards, c.1950 Rufford playing cards, c.1950

Above: first version of the ace of spades still in use with standard De la Rue joker, c.1950. Images courtesy Matt Probert.

Rufford ace of spades, 1950s

Above: the second version of the ace of spades, 1950s. Image courtesy Matt Probert.

Rufford playing cards,  c.1958

Above: Waddington printing with their anonymous ace of spades, c.1958. Images courtesy Ken Lodge.

avatar

By Simon Wintle

Member since February 01, 1996

View Articles

Curator and editor of the World of Playing Cards since 1996. He is a former committee member of the IPCS and was graphics editor of The Playing-Card journal for many years. He has lived at various times in Chile, England and Wales and is currently living in Extremadura, Spain. Simon's first limited edition pack of playing cards was a replica of a seventeenth century traditional English pack, which he produced from woodblocks and stencils.


Leave a Reply

Recommended

1911 The Jovial Cards

The Jovial Cards

Publicity items for a group of entertainers, Southend-on-Sea, Essex, UK, 1911.

1930 Waddington’s “Silkette” Playing Cards

Waddington’s “Silkette” Playing Cards

Cards made by John Waddington Ltd. for the Madras Club, Chennai (formerly Madras), India, c.1930.

2002 Highland Hospice

Highland Hospice

54 different personalities from the city of Inverness published by the Highland Hospice.

2017 Edinburgh Festival Fringe

Edinburgh Festival Fringe

Edinburgh Festival Fringe programme covers from 1956 to 2016 published by Winning Moves UK Ltd.

2010 Cape Wrath

Cape Wrath

Images from the Ministry of Defence Cape Wrath Training Centre, Sutherland, Scotland. Published 2010.

2014 Vesalius Anatomy Card Game

Vesalius Anatomy Card Game

Celebrating the work of Andreas Vesalius in the quincentenary year of his birth.

2005 Team GB

Team GB

Great Britains’s Olympic gold medallists from 1964 to 2004 published by the British Olympic Association.

2015 David Kindersley Centenary

David Kindersley Centenary

Celebration of the work of David Kindersley, stone letter-carver and typeface designer. Published by the Cardozo Kindersley Workshop, Cambridge, UK, 2015.

2003 Official England Rugby Playing Cards

Official England Rugby Playing Cards

Pack celebrating the rugby world champions of 2003. Produced by MMcardz.

1965 El Al Airlines

El Al Airlines

Pack designed by Jean David (1908-93) for El Al Airlines. The courts are named after Biblical characters.

1705 Royal Cards Reign of Queen Anne

Royal Cards Reign of Queen Anne

“Royal Cards Reign of Queen Anne” cover historical events, both honourable and treacherous, during the period 1702 to 1704.

Hall & Son

Hall & Son

Hall & Son

1850 Fortune-Telling Cards

Fortune-Telling Cards

Comic Fortune-Telling Cards published by Reynolds & Sons, c.1850.

1850 Comic Question & Answer cards

Comic Question & Answer cards

Comic Question & Answer cards by Josh. Reynolds & Sons, circa 1850.

1824 Myriorama

Myriorama

Myriorama of Italian scenery, 1824.

1870 Transformation Cards for Christmas

Transformation Cards for Christmas

Hand-drawn Transformation cards, c.1870.

PLAYING CARDS: A Secret History

PLAYING CARDS: A Secret History

PLAYING CARDS: A Secret History

Sergeant-Major

Sergeant-Major

Sergeant-Major card game devised by W.G.Smith

Rex Pitts (1940-2021)

Rex Pitts (1940-2021)

We are deeply saddened by news of the passing of Anthony Rex Pitts (1940-2021).

Pepys Games

Pepys Games

The Story of Pepys Games by Rex Pitts

J. W. Spear and Sons

J. W. Spear and Sons

Jacob Wolfe Spear founded his company manufacturing fancy goods in 1879 near Nuremberg in Bavaria, Germany

Chad Valley Co. Ltd

Chad Valley Co. Ltd

Chad Valley Co. Ltd (incorporating Johnson Brothers (Harborne) Ltd, the long-established UK brand bought by Woolworths in 1988 and now sold at Argos.

Multum in Parvo Co., Ltd

Multum in Parvo Co., Ltd

Multum in Parvo published a range of indoor games during the period from 1884-1927.

1954 Ariel Productions Ltd

Ariel Productions Ltd

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.

Kum-Bak Sports, Toys & Games

Kum-Bak Sports, Toys & Games

Kum-Bak Sports, Toys & Games MFG Co., Ltd, London S.E.11

Crazy People

Crazy People

Crazy People children’s card game illustrated by caricaturist and graphic artist Walter Trier, c.1950.

1912 Panko

Panko

Panko (Votes for Women) suffragette card game published by Peter Gurney Ltd, c.1912.

Snap

Snap

Anonymous Snap game, 1930s.

Panto People

Panto People

Panto People published by E. S. & A. Robinson, c.1930s.

Hats-Off!

Hats-Off!

Hats-Off! miniature card game published by E. S. & A. Robinson, c.1930s.

1930 Zoo-Boots

Zoo-Boots

Zoo-Boots published by E. S. & A. Robinson, c.1930s.

XIXth Century

XIXth Century

The XIXth Century published by John Jaques & Son, c.1875.

The ‘Rinker’ Snap

The ‘Rinker’ Snap

The ‘Rinker’ highly amusing snap game, c.1910.

Round the World Happy Families

Round the World Happy Families

Round the World Happy Families by Chiefton Products Ltd of Bristol, c.1950s.

Abbatt Animal Families

Abbatt Animal Families

Abbatt Toys Animal Families, c.1970.

French for Fun

French for Fun

French for Fun instructive card game published by John Jaques & Son Ltd., c.1930s

Counties of Britain

Counties of Britain

Counties of Britain by John Jaques & Son Ltd. c.1930.

1930 Radio Banker

Radio Banker

Radio Banker by John Waddington Ltd for Marconiphone Co Ltd.

Jigstar

Jigstar

Jigstar film star card game by Murphy Games Ltd, 1936.

Countries of Empire

Countries of Empire

“Countries of Empire” published by John Jaques & Son Ltd, c.1930s.