“Carte per Signora”
“Carte per Signora” patience sized pack was produced by Fratelli Armanino, Genova, in c.1897, printed in chromolithography with double-ended scenic aces. The texts on the aces are in Italian. The cards do in fact closely resemble Dondorf's “Four Continents patience” (first published in c.1870) which also depicts imaginary persons and scenes from four continents, suggesting a degree of rivalry between the two firms. The Armanino brothers' firm operated in Genova until the 1920s when it moved to Rome and operated until c.1960.
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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.
Carte da Gioco Toscana souvenir deck, 2002.
Stylish monochrome designs by the Archinstudio of Guido Bolzani and Gian-Piero Spagnolo, printed by Masenghini, Bergamo, Italy, 1977.
Miniature playing cards, possibly for children, with a romantic theatrical theme. C.L. Wüst c.1890.
This miniature pack is very similar to one made by C.L.Wúst in c.1890.
Gó Succo fruit juice promotion deck featuring Walt Disney cartoons.
San Marino stamp designs combined with photographic views by La Fotometalgrafica Emiliana, c.1975.
A miniature pack of playing cards advertising Suchard chocolate and cocoa made in the early 1900's.
Myriorama of Italian scenery, 1824.
My late mother found these miniature cards in a skip around 50 years ago.
Panto People published by E. S. & A. Robinson, c.1930s.
Hats-Off! miniature card game published by E. S. & A. Robinson, c.1930s.
Zoo-Boots published by E. S. & A. Robinson, c.1930s.
Portraits of a Lady by Lo Scarabeo, 2003.
Alice with artwork by Jesús Blasco, published by Lo Scarabeo, 2003.
Liberty playing cards designed by Antonella Castelli, published by Lo Scarabeo, 2003.
Il Circo illustrated by Jules Garnier, published by Lo Scarabeo, 2004.
Facsimile of Swiss William Tell deck from c.1870 published by Lo Scarabeo.
Baracca & Burattini puppetry deck printed by Dal Negro, 1998.
Martin Mystère based on the comic book by Alfredo Castelli. The cards were designed by Giancarlo Alessandrini.
Gibbs Happy Families card game promotion, both full sized and miniature versions, c.1946.
Two miniature card games promoting Vim Scouring Powder and Sunshine Soap, 1930s.
Facsimile of “Le Jeu de la Guerre” designed by Gilles de la Boissière in 1698.
Patience Cards and their Boxes by Tony Hall.
Mary Whitmore Jones and her Chastleton Patience Board by Tony Hall.
As we are becoming separated from friends and families we worked with the Solitaired team to customize this game using traditional woodblock courts.
Avventure di Pinocchio by Dal Negro, based on Carlo Collodi’s famous 1883 novel “The Adventures of Pinocchio”.
Facsimile of Dondorf’s “Musikalisches Kartenspiel” (c.1862) published by Lo Scarabeo, 2004
Pinocchio fairy tale playing cards illustrated by Iassen Ghiuselev for Lo Scarabeo, 2003.
Jeu Grotesque was first published in France c.1800.
Dal Negro Bridge set featuring old Vienna pattern courts.
“Carte Romane” designed by Giorgio Pessione, 1973, celebrating the history of Rome.
Cuccù or Cucco, an ancient Italian card game, published by Masenghini, 1979.
Sarde pattern published by Modiano, c.1975, based on early XIX century Spanish model.
The Triestine pattern is derived from the Venetian (Trevisane) pattern but with its own characteristics.
Primiera Bolognese by Modiano, c.1975
Bergamasche Pattern by Modiano, 1970s.
Schwarzer Peter No.831 by F.X. Schmid, c.1960s.
Tarocchini Bolognesi by Carlo Zanardi, c.1850
“Money Bag” pattern by Hermanos Solesi, late 18th c.