Jeu Grotesque was first published in France c.1800 featuring satirical and comic caricatures with enormous heads designed to excite laughter as well as for playing card games. Each card has a miniature playing card in the upper left-hand corner. The 12 court cards are actually double-ended with a different picture each way, whilst the numeral cards are caricatures of Janus figures. The original cards each measure 10.8 x 6.8 cm.
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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.
Tarot game pack with fantasy sci-fi artwork on the trumps published by Pocket SF, France.
Cards slanted to the right, issued to mark George W. Bush’s second term of office.
Jeu de 54 cartes, completely anonymous, designed to resemble locally produced French packs.
Carte da Gioco Toscana souvenir deck, 2002.
Set of caricatures and cartoons in aid of a Polish children’s charity. c.2000.
Luxurious Spanish-suited pack made by Alphonse Arnoult, Paris, France, c.1850.
Original designs from the French overseas department of Martinique by local artist Martine Porry.
Stylish monochrome designs by the Archinstudio of Guido Bolzani and Gian-Piero Spagnolo, printed by Masenghini, Bergamo, Italy, 1977.
Standard French designs adapted for children. Made by France Cartes for La Grande Récré, c.2016.
Pack promoting Beaujolais wine published by Editions du Nuton, France.
Gó Succo fruit juice promotion deck featuring Walt Disney cartoons.
San Marino stamp designs combined with photographic views by La Fotometalgrafica Emiliana, c.1975.
Complete re-design of traditional pack into what the publishers considered to be ergonomically efficient.
Comic Fortune-Telling Cards published by Reynolds & Sons, c.1850.
Comic Question & Answer cards by Josh. Reynolds & Sons, circa 1850.
Myriorama of Italian scenery, 1824.
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.
My late mother found these miniature cards in a skip around 50 years ago.
La Sibylle des Salons facsimile of 19th century deck published by J M Simon, 1979.
Portraits of a Lady by Lo Scarabeo, 2003.
Eurotrotter by La Ducale, c.1980s.
Alice with artwork by Jesús Blasco, published by Lo Scarabeo, 2003.
‘Tout Est Bien Qui Finit Bien’ family card game by Dondorf.
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.
Black Peter card game designed by Willy Mayrl for Piatnik.
Puss in Boots card game manufactured by H. Fournier, 1981.
Bass & Bass ‘Jeu des Familles’ made by Franz-Josef Holler, Münich, 1989.
Gambling and Vice in the Hours of Charles V: card-playing in the local tavern
Jeu de Quaternes ‘Rizá’
A facsimile of an early 19th century French-suited deck from the collection of F.X. Schmid.
“Werbung die Sticht” deck with artwork by Fritz Bünzli to promote advertising on playing cards by AG Müller 1982.
Le Jeu du Destin Antique, originally published by Grimaud in XIX c., republished many times since...
Eroticartes with drawings by Pino Zac, 1983.
Baracca & Burattini puppetry deck printed by Dal Negro, 1998.
Crikey! Classic British Comics playing cards published by Bird Playing Cards, 2013.
Forfeits party card game by Merit Games, J & L Randall Ltd, c.1950.
Sherlock Holmes deck with caricatures by Jeff Decker published by Gemaco Playing Card Co. 1989
Sleeping Beauty card game published in France, c.1980s.