• Peter Berthoud

Spell (1st & 3rd Editions)

Updated: Oct 10

Spell The New Word Game (1st Ed.)

Spell Word Game (3rd Ed.)


First Published: 1957 & 3rd Edition, 1960 c., both - Pepys Series by Castell Brothers Ltd., St Cross Street, London

Illustrator or Designer: Not Credited


Contents: 44 Cards + Rules Booklet


Spell 1st Edition Box Front With Title Card
Spell 1st Edition Box Front With Title Card

Spell 3rd Edition Box Front With Title Card
Spell 3rd Edition Box Front With Title Card

44 cards, each bearing 2 letters and 1 SPELL card.


Spell cards: A Full Set, shown with 1st Edition cards
Spell cards: A Full Set, shown with 1st Edition cards

Spell 1st Edition: Selection of cards
Spell 1st Edition: Selection of cards

Spell 3rd Edition: selection of cards
Spell 3rd Edition: Selection of cards

This spelling game poses a couple of questions: Was there ever a 2nd Edition and when was the 3rd Edition published?


Writing for World of Playing Cards in 2019 Rex Pitts concluded that: "In 45 years of collecting Pepys I have never seen a second edition of Spell but the worst thing is I have no idea why I haven’t. For a conclusion I say to myself maybe there was no second edition published!"


Pepys' erratic and often non-existent numbering of different editions is a theme that deserves an article to itself.


Dating the 3rd Edition's publication is complicated by the adverts on the back of the 3rd Ed. rules shown below. The games promoted are Birds (1969) and Speed 8th Edition (1963). An early 60s date might be consistent with these games. Rules were updated during the lifecycle of a game. A game first published in 1960 might well have had the rules reprinted several times if it was still available to buy in 1969. But Speed had a 10th edition published in 1968. If the rule book below was printed in 1969 or later and therefore able to include Birds why wasn't Speed 10th Edition (1968) advertised instead?


The box is a self-locking envelope type that Pepys began to use in the early 1960s and I have only ever seen the 3rd Edition in this style of box. So I have given a publication date of circa 1960, following Rex Pitts' date, but either there was a misprint on the back of the rules below or one or more of the relevant publication dates need to be rethought. More examples may help to confidently date the game.


Game & Version Details




Spell 1st Ed- Card Back



Spell 1st Ed- - Rules Front



Spell 1st Ed- - Rules Back



Games Advertised:

Goal

Foreign Legion



Spell 1st Ed - Box Back


Spell 1st Ed - Box Top


Spell 1st Ed - Box Side Left


Spell 1st Ed - Box Base


Spell 1st Ed - Box Side Right


​Spell 1st Ed - Box Back With Flap


Spell 3rd Ed- Card Back



Spell 3rd Ed- - Rules Front


Spell 3rd Ed- - Rules Back


Games Advertised:

British Birds

Speed 8th Edition


Spell 3rd Ed - Box Back


Spell 3rd Ed - Box Top


Spell 3rd Ed - Box Side Left


Spell 3rd Ed - Box Base


Envelope Style


Spell 3rd Ed - Box Side Right


​Spell 3rd Ed - Box Back With Flap