The World of Playing Cards Logo

Cribbage Board Collection

A collection of antique and vintage Cribbage Boards by Tony Hall

by Tony Hall

Cribbage was invented in the first half of the 17th Century but its heyday in Britain was probably from around the 1850s until the 1940s when parlour games were the main source of domestic entertainment. The game is still played in the UK in pubs and there are (apparently) local leagues playing both the five and six card version of the game. It is even more thriving in the States, being initially the game of choice in the US Navy, particularly in submarines for obvious reasons, and there is a National Association concerned with both play and board collection. I have a wide variety of cribbage boards in my collection of varying ages and interest. Some have significant age and specifications, a few are quite rare. Most of the boards date from the heyday of crib in Britain, although there are some earlier, some later. Most are commercially made; a few are shed work of varying qualities and interest.

However, the bulk of the collection is Victorian/Edwardian. Many of the single box and double box boards date from the 1880s to the 1920s. For example, the two and three-player single box boards (shown below). Both are commercially made from multiple woods and veneers, with bone or plastic inlays. Each has space for one pack of cards and a separate compartment for four or six bone or ivory pegs.

Above: single and double box cribbage boards. From the collection of Tony Hall.

In later years (in the 30s and 40s), many boards were produced for advertising drink or cigarettes.

Above: rare example of single cribbage box with advertising, offering the Season’s Greetings from the Criterion chain of wine and spirit shops operating (judging by the street names) throughout the Birmingham area. The design suggests any time from 1900-1920. From the collection of Tony Hall.

It is not unusual to find a single box in the shape of a horseshoe, although most also have a brass fan of four Ace cards in the centre (missing from this example). But my most exotic single box is made by Gulum Hussan, Kashmere, India and was probably used by the Brits during the Raj and found its way later to England (see below).

Above: single box cribbage boards, a) horseshoe shaped, b) made in India by by Gulum Hussan, Kashmere. From the collection of Tony Hall.

Most double boxes are commercially made to cater for two players, with two packs of cards and a central compartment for pegs and counters. They vary in quality from the highly polished veneered Victorian examples to more basic versions from the same period.

Above: two double box cribbage boards varying in quality from the highly polished veneered Victorian example and a more basic version from the same period. From the collection of Tony Hall.

avatar

By Tony Hall

Member since January 30, 2015

View Articles

I started my interest in card games about 70 years ago, playing cribbage with my grandfather. Collecting card game materials started 50 years or so later, when time permitted. One cribbage board was a memory; two became the start of a collection currently exceeding 150!

Once interest in the social history of card games was sparked, I bought a wooden whist marker from the 1880s which was ingenious in design and unbelievably tactile. One lead to two and there was no stopping.

What happened thereafter is reflected in my articles and downloads on this site, for which I will be eternally grateful.

Also by Tony Hall

Download as Adobe Acrobat files:

"Bézique Markers 1860-1960"

"Evolution of Whist and Bridge Boxed Sets, 1870s–1930s"

"Goodall Patience Boxes"

"Majority Calling and Value Bidding in Auction Bridge; a little bit of history"

"The Personalities and Books which shaped the game of Whist, 1860-1900"

"Piquet: the game and its artifacts"

"Poker Patience"

"Kuhn Khan"


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.

2001 Rare Stamps of the World

Rare Stamps of the World

Fifty-five rare stamps of the world in full colour, published jointly by David Feldman SA of Switzerland and Tower Philatelic, USA, 2001.

Luxury Collectable Decks

Luxury Collectable Decks

Luxury packs of cards have been produced since the 15th century, a trend that is very popular among collectors today.

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

A. Camoin & Cie

A. Camoin & Cie

This deck was inherited from ancestors, it has has a family history surrounding it. Details of the lives of previous owners make it all so fascinating.

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.