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Fred Basset

Fred Basset card game published by Pepys in 1977 based on the cartoon strip by Alex Graham.

Fred Basset card game was published by Pepys Games in 1977 based on the cartoon strip by Scottish cartoonist Alexander S. Graham (1917–1991) which was first published in the Daily Mail on 8 July 1963. The object of the card game is to make pairs of matching cards but there is only one ‘Fred’ card... See the Rules   See the Box

Fred Basset published by Pepys Games, 1977 Fred Basset published by Pepys Games, 1977

Above: Fred Basset published by Pepys Games, 1977.

NOTES

In 1960 Nancy Collins, the wife of Kenneth Collins the MD of Castell Brothers, became MD of E J Larby when the owner Earnest Larby retired. He sold E J Larby to Kenneth and Nancy Collins and the offices were combined with those of Castell Brothers Ltd. The companies were merged to form Castell Larby. In 1973 anticipating his retirement, the company was sold to Graphics Publicity Ltd with Kenneth staying on for two more years. The company was sold again in 1977 not doing very well. The buyer was T J & J Smith Ltd who produced Dataday diaries and were a competitor with Pepys in that market. After huge losses 2 years running the company was closed and remained moribund until it was finally disassociated in 1983. At that point H P Gibson acquired the existing range of games in 1984. They still produce a few of them today.

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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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