Card games were very popular as a form of home entertainment in Britain in the eighteenth and nineteenth century. As well as entertaining guests at the card table, members of the upper social classes could also visit gambling salons where card games were central. For card games such as whist, markers were made which showed the rules of the game, and counters were also used by players to show their scores during the game.The mechanization of metal stamping equipment made it possible to produce large numbers of small cheap metal objects, such as buttons and buckles, and also tokens and counters, and card counters and markers were thus produced in large numbers during the nineteenth century, some having special holders to keep them together. Whist counters such as this show players at the card table, while others have foxes and monkeys playing cards, symbols of the gambling spirit. Some allude to the immoral temptations of the game by advising NO CHEATING or KEEP YOUR TEMPER.


  • Title: Brass whist marker
  • Physical Dimensions: Weight: 5.930g
  • External Link: British Museum collection online
  • Registration number: 1870,0507.18
  • Production place: Made in British Isles
  • Material: alloy
  • Copyright: Photo: © Trustees of the British Museum

Get the app

Explore museums and play with Art Transfer, Pocket Galleries, Art Selfie, and more

Flash this QR Code to get the app
Google apps