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.
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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.
Promotional pack for a Dutch Celtic folk band which performs Irish, Scottish and Dutch folk music, c.2004.
Publicity pack for the Harley and Helmsley Hotels, U.S.A., c.1986.
A set of advertising poster stamps for C.L.Wüst playing cards.
Celebrating the work of Andreas Vesalius in the quincentenary year of his birth.
Luxury playing cards produced by Theory11 in collaboration with The Nomad Hotel in New York City.
An extraordinary Spanish pack of chocolate advertising playing cards dating from 1920
Another pack of Dutch costume playing cards c.1880.
Marvel’s Avengers: The Infinity Saga Premium Playing Cards produced by Theory11 and designed by Mattson Creative, 2021.
Pack promoting Beaujolais wine published by Editions du Nuton, France.
Gó Succo fruit juice promotion deck featuring Walt Disney cartoons.
A miniature pack of playing cards advertising Suchard chocolate and cocoa made in the early 1900's.
Dutch costume playing cards made for the Dutch market in the second half of the 19th century.
IBM Linux One playing cards, c.2018.
‘History of fashion’ cultural quartet game designed by Erika Werner-Nestler, 1954.
Dutch costumes quartet game designed by Gerard Huijg, 1983.
Nederlands Stedenkwartet with heraldic needlepoint patterns by Permin, c.1970.
Lion Coffee Mother Goose card game, late 19th C.
Österreichisches Trachten-quartett Nr.282 published by Ferd Piatnik & Söhne.
Geschichte des Buchgewerbes illustrated by Ludwig Winkler, published by Verlag für Lehrmittel Pößneck.
“So Fängt Es An” beautifully illustrated by M. Neugebauer, published by Helingsche Verlagsanstalt, c.1950.
“Verkehrsmittel Einst und Jetzt” transport quartet game by Bielefelder Spielkarten Fabrik GmbH, 1958.
Asterix Adventure quartet game by ASS, 1989.
French for Fun instructive card game published by John Jaques & Son Ltd., c.1930s
‘Tout Est Bien Qui Finit Bien’ family card game by Dondorf.
Zwarte Piet by Dondorf for the Dutch market, 1906.
Gas Warm Homes Happy Families game published by British Gas, c.1980.
Jeu de Quaternes ‘Rizá’
Zwanenberg’s Kwartetspel printed by Speelkaartenfabriek Nederland, 1938.
“H-O Kwartetspel” children’s card game promoting quick cooking oatmeal (instant porridge), 1930s.
“Werbung die Sticht” deck with artwork by Fritz Bünzli to promote advertising on playing cards by AG Müller 1982.
Periquito y Tontín Dominoes, featuring Feliz and Bonzo, 1920s.
“Deal Winners” promotional pack for Dundas & Wilson law firm.
Happy Gas Families published by British Gas, c.1985.
Asperge Kwartet published by Knorr.
History of Motorcycles quartet published by Verlag für Lehrmittel Pößneck, 1989.
Gilroy Special Edition Playing Cards to commemorate the centenary of the birth of John Gilroy, 1989.
Hamm’s Beer promotion deck with bear cartoons by Frank M. Antoncich 1968.
Musikinstrumente quartet game published by Verlag für Lehrmittel, Pössneck, 1984.
Railway Stations quartet game illustrated by Wim Dolk and published by Servex BV, Utrecht, 1975.
Nature Quartet game published by Staatsbosbeheer, printed by Roem Speelkaarten, Kampen.