Sunday, September 29, 2013

Charade No. 33

My first is a plaything;
My second few play with;
My whole plays with nobody.

Charade No. 32

My first descends from yon eternal skies;
A winged weapon from my second flies;
And in my whole these colors may be seen,
Yellow and blue, as well as red and green.

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

How to Find Regency Charades

Here are a few pointers if you’d like to find Regency charades on your own.

The most available sources for a modern collector are books and bound magazines. Originals can cost up to hundreds or (low) thousands of dollars (USD). A warning: some of these have very poor bindings; these were often intended to be rebound to the taste of the purchaser, a common practice in that period.

Now that many older books are being reprinted by automated processes, collections can be found for a lot less, up to roughly 20 - 40 USD. There are some difficulties with these newer versions: many have errors in the text due to the scanning and optical character recognition (OCR) software that are sometimes used; some listings have disclaimers about this. Another issue is that the online listings don’t often list the original publication date, so you may want to contact the bookseller to get this and other details.

Some good places to look:

  • Bookfinder ( this is a “federated search” site for many antiquarian book dealers and sites, including AbeBooks, Alibris, and many smaller dealers, as well as Amazon and eBay. This is a favorite of mine, but you will find that a search on “charades” returns many titles that have nothing to do with Regency charades.

  • eBay ( there are sometimes good bargains on this site.

When searching, keep in mind that titles originally published after about 1840 are often about acting charades, rather than the rhyming riddles featured in this blog.

Another source, in case you don't necessarily want to buy, is the Special Collections department of a university or major public library.

If you have other sources to recommend, or have found an interesting collection, please post a comment to share.