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Woodland Old Maid

Woodland Old Maid, a Pepys Card Game illustrated by Racey Helps, first published c.1957.

Pepys Games

Woodland Old Maid

a Pepys Card Game pictured by Racey Helps, c.1957

In this classic children's game first published by Castell Brothers Ltd (Pepys Games) in the late 1950s the ‘Old Maids’ are depicted as gentle and loveable owls (maybe spinsters too!). Woodland Old Maid is a game for two or more players in which the object is to discard matching pairs and not end up holding the single ‘Old Maid’ card.

“Old Maid” card games were also re-titled in other countries as Black Peter (Schwarzer Peter) in Germany, Zwarte Piet (Netherlands), Svarte Petter (Sweden) and Pekka-Peli (Finland). The main focus of the game is towards the last card, which might be a black cat, an Old Maid, black-faced chimney sweep or black grotesque character.

Woodland Old Maid, a Pepys Card Game illustrated by Racey Helps, first published c.1957 Woodland Old Maid, a Pepys Card Game illustrated by Racey Helps, first published c.1957

Above: Woodland Old Maid, a Pepys Card Game illustrated by Racey Helps, first published c.1957. . The three 'Old Maids' are: Winnie Woodowl; Hetty Hoot and Olive Brown. Ten sets of four matching cards, plus three 'Old Maid' cards + rules card in cardboard box.

Companion games of Woodland Happy Families and Woodland Snap were also published by Pepys Games with artwork by Racey Helps.   See also: more artwork by Racey Helps

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By Simon Wintle

Member since February 01, 1996

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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.


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