Monday, May 24, 2010

Play Your Cards Right


I came across a strange deck of Victorian cards this weekend, tucked away inside of a cigar case which, I think, my friend Janie gave me a few years ago. I have a feeling that she was giving me the cigar case and the cards were a bonus find. But what a find and what a game. That is both a comment and a question - what game could it be? In the set I have, there are 40 cards : 10 groups of four cards each. Each group has both a colour drawing and a descriptive title. Could this be an early form of "Happy Families" perhaps, or a kind of snap game? I have fed a few of the descriptions into Google and found just one hit : someone selling a similar set of Victorian cards (although not as complete) in New Zealand earlier this year. From the description, they had no idea what the game was called or how it was played either.


I can sympathise with the poor fellow with the cut face. I find this morning that it isn't my face which is covered with plasters, but my hands. The fine weather over the weekend brought about a rapid change of format to the party we had planned and in extra-quick time the lawn had to be mowed and the BBQ scrubbed. I finished up with blisters all over my hands which is an indication of, not how hard I worked, but how soft I have grown during my gentle decline into old age.


Part of the reason for the party was to celebrate The Lad (and his girlfriend Heather) having got through their second year exams. In a few days time they will start the practical training and then before the end of next month they will be going out on placement into the hospitals of South Yorkshire. Congratulations to both of them - and commiserations with the poor folk of South Yorkshire who could just possibly wake up in hospital and find The Lad gazing down at them and scratching his head in puzzled amusement.

15 comments:

  1. These vintage cards are amazing. You must show us more of them, Alan. You are tantalizing me with ephemera!

    Kudos to the Lad!!

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  2. The cards are hilarious. A great fine, though a pity that you can't play with them. What you need to do is host another BBQ, and over a couple of burgers and beers figure out a game to play with them.

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  3. A great fine? By which I mean "a great find." I hope you didn't get fined.

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  4. What an interesting set of cards! That last card makes it obvious that they're not from the US, though; most American mothers would advise their sons to do the opposite.

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  5. I think the butler did it.

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  6. Very interesting. I hop that if you do eventually discover what they are, that you will let us all know. Hearty congratulations to The Lad and Heather.

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  7. Those cards are a mystery, aren't they? Early snap cards is a good guess, I'd say.

    As for the 'lad', I was reminded of this irresistible quote from Doctor in the House.

    Lancelot Sprat: You. What's the bleeding time?
    Simon Sparrow: 10 past 10.

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  8. Congrats to the Lad and Heather and good luck to them for the next year.

    These cards are fascinating - surely designed for adults? Or were children's cards equally as gruesome?

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  9. ah, should have read this blog before your other, as the mystery of your lad's professional training is solved.

    congrats!!

    quite an intriguing deck of cards!

    speaking of victorian happy victoria day! i saw today was the birthday of the ol queen - unfortunately i couldn't locate any quote of hers that dovetailed with my post today... and eh gads what she says about pregnancy and marriage is most peculiar. for instance, regarding pregnancy: "I positively think that ladies who are always enceinte quite disgusting; it is more like a rabbit or guinea-pig than anything else and really it is not very nice."

    and didn't she have 9 kids!!!

    trying to wrap my head around that remark in light of her own history

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  10. Interesting but rather ugly don't you think? No idea what the game could be. Must be lovely to have your boy home for a while and congratulations on getting through 2 years of gruelling study!

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  11. Congrats to the "Lad" and girlfriend, Alan! Wonderful old cards, too. Just dropping by to let you know I'm still out here - and enjoying your wonderful blog as always.

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  12. I remember choosing that present... had no idea it was a cigar case, (are you sure it was?) just loved the old cards. (Not Janie spotted them, me!) Mind you, had forgotten the detail your blog has revealed...

    Blisters from a BBQ? We're suffering sunburn from a boat-trip..

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  13. Edwin : I stand corrected. And thank you for the excellent choice. Whether it is a cigar case or not, it nicely protects a couple of panatellas!

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  14. Fascinating cards--& congrats to your Lad & his gal!

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  15. Today, I found the exact same cards in an antique shop while visiting my family in Northern California. The shop owner GAVE them to me. :o) You're the only person on the internet with information as to what these "might" be, though I'm still itching to solve the mystery. You're right, they are similar to "Happy Families," but I believe they date earlier. The cards I have are in near mint condition. :o) I am going back to the store this afternoon to see if I missed any as these were scattered in a pile of old photos. Have you dated these cards? Any other info since finding them? My email address is skweich@abnorth.com if you wish to correspond. Thank you!

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