Ethiopian Air Lines playing cards designed by Melles Habtezghi with English and Ethiopian indices on all cards. The back design shows the Lion of Judah at the centre of a series of concentric circles and ethnic motifs, with musical instruments all framed by a decorative border. The court cards are indigenous peoples wearing regional costumes decorated with similar symbols, with the same outlines used in each suit.
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Rex's main interest was in card games, because, he said, they were cheap and easy to get hold of in his early days of collecting. He is well known for his extensive knowledge of Pepys games and his book is on the bookshelves of many.
His other interest was non-standard playing cards. He also had collections of sheet music, music CDs, models of London buses, London Transport timetables and maps and other objects that intrigued him.
Rex had a chequered career at school. He was expelled twice, on one occasion for smoking! Despite this he trained as a radio engineer and worked for the BBC in the World Service.
Later he moved into sales and worked for a firm that made all kinds of packaging, a job he enjoyed until his retirement. He became an expert on boxes and would always investigate those that held his cards. He could always recognize a box made for Pepys, which were the same as those of Alf Cooke’s Universal Playing Card Company, who printed the card games. This interest changed into an ability to make and mend boxes, which he did with great dexterity. He loved this kind of handicraft work.
His dexterity of hand and eye soon led to his making card games of his own design. He spent hours and hours carefully cutting them out and colouring them by hand.
Rock paintings and engravings of the San people, better known as the “Bushmen”.
Souvenir pack from Garuda Indonesia, the national airline of Indonesia, c.1985.
Original designs from the French overseas department of Martinique by local artist Martine Porry.
Cheerful, colourful designs on handmade paper from Nepal.
Estonian national costumes and everyday items feature on this pack made in Estonia.
A colourful pack of round cards with Ganjifa designs by Asha Industries, Mumbai, India, 2002.
Pack designed for La Maison de L’Artisanat Ltée, Mauritius, by Hervé de Cotter.
Non-standard designs on Nepalese handmade paper for Pilgrims Book House, Kathmandu, Nepal, c.2000.
Pack designed by Jean David (1908-93) for El Al Airlines. The courts are named after Biblical characters.
The first of two decks designed by Ukrainian illustrator Vladislav Erko for “Korchma Taras Bulba” restaurant which serves traditional Ukrainian cuisine
Folk Cards designed by Krystyna Gruchalska-Bunsch for Lot Polish Airlines, 1962.
Irish Legendary deck featuring figures in the Legends of Ireland, designed by Rachel Arbuckle, 1990.
Ethiopian playing cards designed for the Ethiopian Tourist Organization by Afewerk Teklé.
Sapra Studio Original playing cards featuring wild animals of S Africa, 1999.
Baraja Tonalamatl Mexican Aztec playing cards based on the prehispanic Codex Borgia manuscript.
Qantas Airways Limited is the flag carrier of Australia and is the world's third-oldest airline still in operation, having been founded in November 1920.
National Misfitz published by C.W. Faulkner & Co c.1900.
Many Folk Misfitz published by C.W. Faulkner & Co., c.1906.
Matching game by Majora, Lisbon, c.1970, featuring figures in national dress from Portuguese provinces and colonies
Ethiopian Air Lines playing cards designed by Melles Habtezghi with courts wearing regional costumes, c.1969.
“Naipes Criollos” Gaucho playing cards, 1995.
Naipes Cardón designed by Mario Luis Rivero depicting traditional Argentine culture and identity, 2002.
Characters from the Chinese novel “The Water Margin” - 水滸撲克.
Austrian Folklore deck first published by Piatnik in 1934.
Happy Families of the World published by Pepys Games, 1963.
Souvenir playing cards from Garuda Indonesia Airlines, the national airline of Indonesia.
Native American Warriors from the Wild West Series published by SPCC, 2018.
Far East playing cards with designs by Isabel Ibáñez de Sendadiano, c.1980.
Souvenir playing cards from the culturally diverse southwestern Pacific island of Papua New Guinea.
Mongolian Religious Mask Dancing playing cards, c.2010
“Allfours Carnival Playing Cards” designed by Gabby Woodham, Trinidad, 1995
African tribal mask playing cards for Sandton City, Johannesburg.
The ’Planes Game published by Pepys, 1965.
Alitalia advertising deck produced by Premier Portfolio International Ltd.
“African Art” Playing cards by John J. Beckvermit III, 1994
Sheba playing cards illustrated by Brent Bailer and published by Omega Concepts Ltd.
AGMüller standard English pattern for the Royal Jordanian Airline, 1980s
“Fair Play” cross cultural playing cards illustrated by Canadian artist Stephen B. MacInnes.
East African Playing Cards by Heraclio Fournier S.A., 1957.
Biggles card game published by Pepys Games in 1955 based on the popular books by Capt W E Johns.