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Published August 29, 2017 Updated September 04, 2022

Sandton City

African tribal mask playing cards for Sandton City, Johannesburg.

Africa South Africa The Red Iron Rooster Art & Design Add to Collection

African tribal masks on playing cards designed by The Red Iron Rooster for Sandton City, a shopping center in Sandton, Johannesburg, South Africa.   from African Art to Armani...   Many African societies see masks as mediators or links between the earthly, living world and supernatural, spiritual worlds. They accompany souls to their final resting place during commemorations of the dead. Dance performances with masks are sometimes organised for tourists.

South African cards designed by The Red Iron Rooster for Sandton City South African cards designed by The Red Iron Rooster for Sandton City

Above: South African mask playing cards designed by The Red Iron Rooster for Sandton City. Manufacturer and date currently unknown. Images courtesy Rex Pitts.

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By Rex Pitts (1940-2021)

Member since January 30, 2009

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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