Éditions Willeb: “Jeu de Bataille”
Jeu de Bataille card game published by Éditions Willeb, Paris, whose name appears on the ace of clubs. The non-standard court cards and numeral pips represent characters from different nationalities or ethnic groups who are presumably engaged in battle. These are : medieval European, native African, American Indian and Japanese. The cards are designed in the style of the French standard pattern with diagonal dividing lines between each end. Éditions Willeb, 13 Rue Marivaux, Paris, were book publishers since 1930s also published standard cards, tarots, children's card games, toys and puzzles.
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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.
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