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Albert Heijn’s Boffie Kwartetspel

The “Boffie” Kwartetspel was designed by Huibert Vet and published by Albert Heijn in 1936

AHOL (Albert Heijn Holding) the largest supermarket chain in The Netherlands, with 30% of the market, began with Albert Heijn BV in 1887. In the 1920s the company ran a continuous advertising campaign with its posters of a young boy known as “Boffie” in an apron carrying a very large tray of cups of coffee and tempting various groups of people to come and have a cup of coffee. The caption for these posters was “Stop! Daar is Boffie… met Albert Heijn’s Koffie”. These posters became very familiar to the public and served their purpose well. You can still buy reproductions of them in The Netherlands today.

The Happy Families card game themed with Albert Heijn's products (“Boffie” Kwartetspel, shown below) was designed by Huibert Vet (Huibert Arnoldus de Vet, 1920-1975), a Dutch comic artist and illustrator, and first published by Albert Heijn in 1936. The complete set contains 48 cards inside a cardboard box.

Albert Heijn’s Boffie Kwartetspel, 1936
Albert Heijn’s Boffie Kwartetspel, 1936

Above: the box is grey with blue edges. On the front is an image of a boy with a tray full of coffee cups with the title below in black and white letters. The card backs have a blue coloured sun motif with the words “Albert Heijn for quality”. All images courtesy Rex Pitts.

Albert Heijn’s Boffie Kwartetspel, 1920s

Above: Albert Heijn’s “Boffie” Kwartetspel with advertising for various products, first published in 1936. The card backs have a blue coloured sun motif with the words “Albert Heijn for quality”. Images courtesy Rex Pitts.

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By Rex Pitts (1940-2021)

Member since January 30, 2009

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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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