Recently unearthed from the Big Box of Things My Mother Hasn’t Thrown Away is this vintage set of Snap! cards by Abbatt Toys.
The box is looking a bit faded and is in a ‘played with’ condition, though you can still just about make out where Mum has inscribed my name in the top left corner.
There are 16 different designs in the set, with four copies of each card. Oddly, five of the designs have a black background. Although black works well as a contrast to the yacht and ball images, I do prefer the cards that feature vibrant red, yellow and blue.
Looking at these now with middle-aged eyes, I wonder why the female doll has been given legs, while the jolly little man appears to have been cut off above the knees . . .
The sheep and dog are among my favourites. Note the contrasting colours of the collars.
That little soldier on a rocking horse has some lovely details, including the red bridle.
I’ll finish with the beautiful exotic fish and a crown that appears to be missing something important – a royal head. Less successful (and not pictured here) was a hedgehog on an unattractive peach background.
I can’t find any information about when these Snap! cards were first produced. I think I would have been playing with these in the late 1960s, but they may date from a decade earlier.
Abbatt Toys was set up by the team of Paul Abbatt and his wife Marjorie Abbatt (born Norah Marjorie Cobb). They spotted a gap in the market for innovative, well-designed toys for younger children and set up a mail-order toy company in the early 1930s. Within a couple of years they had a factory and showroom in Tottenham Court Road, London.
The Abbatts were also important figures in the modernist movement, working with their friend Erno Goldfinger, the architect of Trellick Tower and schools like Greenside, which I visited on Open House weekend a few years ago. In the mid-1930s Goldfinger designed a shop for the Abbatts at 94 Wimpole Street, London.
Next time I visit the Museum of Childhood in Bethnal Green, I’ll look for other toys and games from Abbatt Toys.