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Published February 20, 2024 Updated February 20, 2024

T. Drayton & Son

Bezique and Whist boxed sets by T. Drayton & Son, London, c.1875.

1875 United Kingdom Drayton & Son Bézique Whist Add to Collection

In acquiring a sizeable collection of Bezique boxes from the 19th century and later, there were a few items which I have so far been unable to identify. Perhaps the most frustrating of these was this beautifully produced bow-fronted box in red leather and card, with gold trim. The two packs of cards in the box do not match and are almost certainly not part of the set as originally sold, so are no help in identifying the origin of the box. The box itself is unmarked, but the two bezique markers, obviously made for and original to the set, are marked T. Drayton & Son, London. Undertaking the usual routes of investigation, including checking the contents of the wopc web site, I could find no other reference to this firm, either as manufacturers or retailers of card games. So I gave up for the time being.

bow-fronted Bezique box in red leather with gold trim marked T. Drayton & Son, London, c.1875

Above: bow-fronted Bezique box in red leather and card, with gold trim marked T. Drayton & Son, London,c.1875.

Recently, however, I have acquired this similar, if slightly larger, box set labelled “Whist” but obviously from the same manufacturer. The two unique whist markers (identical in size to the bezique markers above) are also marked T. Drayton & Son, London. Both boxes are well produced and were evidently quite expensive at the time.

bow-fronted Whist box in black leather with gold trim marked T. Drayton & Son, London, c.1875

Above: bow-fronted Whist box in black leather with gold trim marked T. Drayton & Son, London,c.1875.

I have still had no success, as yet, in tracking down T. Drayton & Son, or a date of manufacture. However, this set carries the name, presumably of the retailer, Sloan & Walkden, Southport and this offers evidence of publication sometime before August 1878.

This entry in the London Gazette confirms the sad demise of the partnership which proudly labelled this rather nice box set.

4890 THE LONDON, GAZETTE, AUGUST 27, 1878

NOTICE is hereby given, that the 'Partnership heretofore subsisting between the undersigned, Alfred Birtles Sloan and Martin Luther Walkden, trading under the style or firm of Sloan and Walkden, at Southport, in the county of Lancaster, as Booksellers, Stationers, and Fancy Dealers, has this day been dissolved by mutual consent.—Dated this 22nd day of August, 1878. Alfred B. Sloan. M. L. Walkden

We still have booksellers and stationers, but “Fancy Dealers” are less common!

It is possible that T. Drayton & Son operating in the early/mid 19th century met a similar fate. Who knows! Any information from other collectors would be much appreciated.

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47 Articles

By Tony Hall

Member since January 30, 2015

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.


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