The Air at the Top of the Bottle

The Ullage Group header image 1

Children’s Card Games (201)

April 4th, 2014 · 5 Comments


I’m going to return to posting children’s card games.  Maybe I’ll post another 200.  For those who came in late, my interest is in the anonymous graphics and cultural footnotes found in this most disposable of genres.

The gentleman above is from a deck of “Snap,” undated, and identified only as “British Manufacture.”  Cursory research tells me that “hokey pokey” was late 19th century slang for ice cream, particularly that sold by Italian street vendors; it also sometimes meant toffee, or ice cream with toffee, but apparently mostly in New Zealand.

All of the cards represent street vendors and their cries, giving a charming glimpse of life in the UK at that time; although I hope the real vendors didn’t have such large heads.  The others are: “Scissors to Grind!”, “Chairs to Mend!”, “Coals!”, “Winners!” (racetrack results, I imagine), “Cat’s Meat!”, “1d a Bunch!” (flowers), “Sweep!” (chimney sweep), “1d All the Way!” (streetcar conductor), “Muffins O!”, “Old Clo’!”, and “”All a Growing!” (plants).

(Posted by Doug Skinner)

Tags: Card Games

5 responses so far ↓

  • 1 Norman Conquest // Apr 6, 2014 at 12:36 am

    The heads aren’t so large, it’s just that the bodies are too small. Artists always draw the heads first, and then grow bored and rush through the rest of the drawing. You of all people should know that.

  • 2 Doug // Apr 6, 2014 at 1:31 pm

    Not so! Clothing is more fun to draw than heads. But people look funnier with bigger heads, maybe because we think we’re smarter than we are.

  • 3 Norman Conquest // Apr 6, 2014 at 9:00 pm

    Present company excluded, of course.

  • 4 Yas // Jun 29, 2017 at 3:16 am


    I have 20 of these cards, my sister and I used to play with them when we were 6yrs and 4yrs old.
    We divided them and I’m not sure if she still has hers. they have like a blue and white pomegranate pattern on the back of them.
    Would you know if they are worth anything and I know I only have half a deck with my first name written on the back of them 🙂 (you know I was a child lol) and they are a bit worn I would say good condition for their age and they are a bit yellowish. I believe they belonged to my grandmother and my mum inherited them so they would be 1900’s as you say.

  • 5 Doug // Jun 29, 2017 at 2:03 pm

    Oh, I have no idea if they’re worth anything. I’m not a dealer; I just like the graphics. This deck has been reprinted; you can get a whole deck for each of you!

Leave a Comment