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Card game - The New Game of Animals

The New Game of Animals

  • Object:

    Card game

  • Place of origin:

    England (published)

  • Date:

    1878 (published)

  • Artist/Maker:

    Hulbert, J. Lacey (designer)

  • Materials and Techniques:

    Printed card

  • Museum number:

    E.736&:1 to 50-1959

  • Gallery location:

    In Storage

This is a very fine example of a spelling game played using the rules of Happy Families. There are 11 sets of cards. The lead card has a picture of an animal: an ass, cat, cow, dog, fox, goat, hare, horse, lion, pig or rat. The others in the set spell out the name of the animal with the letters illustrated in pictures. Sometimes it is difficult to work out which letter belongs to which animal. The set of lion cards is double in point value, because he is the 'king of the beasts'.

Physical description

Design: process engravings, sepia on green card; reverse sides plain
card slipcase has an impression of the illustration on the rules card printed on the front
50 cards, including the rules card, showing country scenes with animals incorporating representation of letters of the alphabet within the design
card slipcase with an impression of the illustration on the rules card printed on the front
No. of Players: any

Place of Origin

England (published)


1878 (published)


Hulbert, J. Lacey (designer)

Materials and Techniques

Printed card

Marks and inscriptions

illustrations drawn and signed by J Lacy Hulbert delt 1878


Height: 3.75 in, Width: 2.375 in, Height: 4 in case, Width: 2.5 in case, Depth: 0.375 in case

Object history note

spelling game played in a similar manner to Happy Families; the illustrations are quite obscure especially if a child had difficult recognising the alphabetical letter
animals:- ass, cat, cow, dog, fox goat, hare, horse, lion, pig, rat

Historical context note

This game consists of 11 sets of cards, each containig the separate letters which spell the name of an animal with one card representing the animal spelt. There is also one card containing all the animals.

1. The cards must be well shuffled and dealt, not less that 6 being placed in the middle as a pool.
2. Each player, in turn, may ask any of the players for any card belonging to a set, one or more of the cards of which he has in his hand, and, if successful, amy continue to ask for cards from the same or any other player till he fails to obtain what he asks for, when the right to ask passes to the player on his left hand.
3. The player who finds in his hand the card representing all the snaimsl together begins the game and has the privilege (for the first turn only) of asking for any card in the game, even if he holds none of the cards belonging to the same set in his hand.
4. The design of each letter shows to which animal it belongs; but some of the letters are made intentionally rather obscure; and if any player misunderstands a card, or asks for one belonging to a set of which he has none, or for a card he already has, he loses that turn.
5. When a player finds no one has the card he seeks, he may draw from the pool till he obtains it , keeping all he draws.
6. When a player has exhausted all his cards, he may draw one from this pool, if any remain, and continue his play.
7. The LION, being `king of the beasts' his set of cards counts as TWO sets.
8. The player who has obtained the largest number of sets at the end of the game wins.
9. If possible, one who knows the game should act as umpire.

Descriptive line

Card game, The New Game of Animals, published in England in 1878

Bibliographic References (Citation, Note/Abstract, NAL no)

The Collector's Guide to Children's Games and Puzzle, CG Goodfellow, Apple Press, 1991

Production Note

Reason For Production: retail






Games; Playing cards & Tarot cards

Production Type

mass produced


Museum of Childhood

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