Charles Hodges operated as a bookseller and stationer at 27 Portman Street, Portman Square, London, from 1825-6 until 1830. Following the tradition of engraved pictorial playing cards depicting educational, scientific and other subjects, which had its heyday in England during the 17th-18th centuries, Hodges published these Geographical and Astronomical packs starting in around 1827. The Geographical cards (shown above) were probably inspired by a pack made in France by René Janet in 1825 called Boston de l'Univers ou Jeu des quatre parties du Monde. The English version is believed to have been made for Hodges by Stopforth & Son in London. The Astronomical pack (shown below) was also likely made by Stopforth & Son. These are amongst the last of the finely engraved English packs as chromolithography was soon to take over.
Hodges' companion pack dealing with astronomy had numeral cards carrying diagrams of constellations and their pictorial representations; the court cards represent classical deities. The aim of the game was to obtain pairs of map and constellation cards from similar parts of the terrestrial and celestial globes. Information about the locality was printed at the bottom of the cards and the latitude or declination was displayed as a corner index at the top left under a large 'N' or 'S'. The maps which were used in the Geographical cards were again re-used, without any suit signs stencilled in, to complete the Astrophilogeon decks.
Hodges had published supplementary sets of 40 map or constellation cards with no suit signs or other information printed on them, or accompanying court cards, as New Geographical Cards and New Astronomical Cards, and was able to re-use the same plates for both his Geographical and Astrophilogeon decks with the additional information over-printed from separate plates or stencils. After Hodges ceased trading in c.1830 the packs were re-issued in 1838-9 by William and Henry Rock possibly, at first, using the same plates but subsequently moving to lithographic printing.
Member since February 01, 1996View Articles
Curator and editor of the World of Playing Cards since 1996. He is a former committee member of the IPCS and was graphics editor of The Playing-Card journal for many years. He has lived at various times in Chile, England and Wales and is currently living in Extremadura, Spain. Simon's first limited edition pack of playing cards was a replica of a seventeenth century traditional English pack, which he produced from woodblocks and stencils.
Cards made by John Waddington Ltd. for the Madras Club, Chennai (formerly Madras), India, c.1930.
54 different personalities from the city of Inverness published by the Highland Hospice.
Edinburgh Festival Fringe programme covers from 1956 to 2016 published by Winning Moves UK Ltd.
Images from the Ministry of Defence Cape Wrath Training Centre, Sutherland, Scotland. Published 2010.
Celebrating the work of Andreas Vesalius in the quincentenary year of his birth.
Portuguese proverbs in combination with special courts and suit-signs published by Apenas Livros, Lisbon.
Sirocco, nautical themed playing cards by Riffle Shuffle Playing Card Co. and designed by Nathan Oser, 2020.
Great Britains’s Olympic gold medallists from 1964 to 2004 published by the British Olympic Association.
Celebration of the work of David Kindersley, stone letter-carver and typeface designer. Published by the Cardozo Kindersley Workshop, Cambridge, UK, 2015.
Pack celebrating the rugby world champions of 2003. Produced by MMcardz.
‘Aphorisms on the Kiss’ published by C. A. Solbrig, Leipzig, 1808.
“Royal Cards Reign of Queen Anne” cover historical events, both honourable and treacherous, during the period 1702 to 1704.
Hall & Son
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.
Hand-drawn Transformation cards, c.1870.
PLAYING CARDS: A Secret History
Bosch Puzzle Playing Cards by Sunish Chabba, 2020.
Sergeant-Major card game devised by W.G.Smith
We are deeply saddened by news of the passing of Anthony Rex Pitts (1940-2021).
The Story of Pepys Games by Rex Pitts
Jacob Wolfe Spear founded his company manufacturing fancy goods in 1879 near Nuremberg in Bavaria, Germany
Chad Valley Co. Ltd (incorporating Johnson Brothers (Harborne) Ltd, the long-established UK brand bought by Woolworths in 1988 and now sold at Argos.
Multum in Parvo published a range of indoor games during the period from 1884-1927.
The founder of Ariel Productions, Philip Marx, was a prolific publisher of children’s books and comics towards the end of and just after the Second World War.
Kum-Bak Sports, Toys & Games MFG Co., Ltd, London S.E.11
Crazy People children’s card game illustrated by caricaturist and graphic artist Walter Trier, c.1950.
‘History of fashion’ cultural quartet game designed by Erika Werner-Nestler, 1954.
Panko (Votes for Women) suffragette card game published by Peter Gurney Ltd, c.1912.
Anonymous Snap game, 1930s.
Panto People published by E. S. & A. Robinson, c.1930s.
Hats-Off! miniature card game published by E. S. & A. Robinson, c.1930s.
Zoo-Boots published by E. S. & A. Robinson, c.1930s.
The XIXth Century published by John Jaques & Son, c.1875.
The ‘Rinker’ highly amusing snap game, c.1910.
Round the World Happy Families by Chiefton Products Ltd of Bristol, c.1950s.
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.
Abbatt Toys Animal Families, c.1970.