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Published December 03, 2022 Updated February 12, 2023

Lecardo

‘Lecardo’ playing cards, dominos & word building game invented by Stanley Kermode, United Kingdom, c. 1939.

1939 United Kingdom De la Rue Stanley Kermode Innovation Patent Wartime Card Games Add to Collection
Lecardo playing cards, dominos & word building game printed by De la Rue, United Kingdom, c. 1939

The cards in this unusual pack are printed in such a way as to allow them to be used as playing cards, dominoes, or as elements of different word and number games. Complete with 3 very unusual Joker cards. The pack was printed in black and red by De La Rue for Lecardo of Christchurch, Hants, and originally came with enclosed paper instructions giving full details for each of the different games that are possible.

It clearly states it was printed by De la Rue for the proprietors Lecardo. The cost is given on the box as 2/6d. Lecardo is somewhat confusing as there seems to be a Farmers game, and a Football game as well as this pack - but all seem to have the same cards! I have seen several possible dates, but as De la Rue was bombed in 1940, then I think the most likely date for this edition is 1939. See the box

Designer: Stanley Kermode. See his biography here

Stanley Kermode submitted a patent specification for the game on Sept 20, 1938. It was accepted on March 21, 1940 • Improvements relating to playing-cards and card games

Lecardo playing cards, dominos & word building game printed by De la Rue, United Kingdom, c. 1939

Above: ‘Lecardo’ playing cards, dominos & word building game printed by De la Rue, United Kingdom, c. 1939.

Right: alternative box with a Farmers game and a Football game, at a higher price of 4/3d. Also mentioned are “four other new and interesting games”.

The Rules - all the rules are on a huge (and I really do mean huge!) double-sided, fold-out sheet which measures 263 x 455 mm overall.

Lecardo Farmers 1Lecardo Farmers 2
Lecardo Football 1Lecardo Football 2 plus four other games

Rules courtesy Roddy Somerville.

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By Peter Burnett

Member since July 27, 2022

I graduated in Russian and East European Studies from Birmingham University in 1969. It was as an undergraduate in Moscow in 1968 that I stumbled upon my first 3 packs of “unusual” playing cards which fired my curiosity and thence my life-long interest. I began researching and collecting cards in the early 1970s, since when I’ve acquired over 3,330 packs of non-standard cards, mainly from North America, UK and Western Europe, and of course from Russia and the former communist countries.

Russian Playing Cards

Following my retirement from the Bodleian Library in Dec. 2007 I took up a new role as Head of Library Development at the International Network for the Availability of Scientific Publications (INASP) to support library development in low-income countries. This work necessitated regular training visits to many sub-Saharan African countries and also further afield, to Vietnam, Nepal and Bangladesh – all of which provided rich opportunities to further expand my playing card collection.

Since 2019 I’ve been working part-time in the Bodleian Library where I’ve been cataloguing the bequest of the late Donald Welsh, founder of the English Playing Card Society.


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