CARD GAME: "Physogs".

The New and Novel Card Game - "Physogs" - Character from the Face.

London: Waddy Productions, [c.1939] Stock Code: 111770
Reserve Ask us a question

The prototype of the photo-fit

A very appealing and uncommon identikit game from the late 1930s, produced by the short-lived firm of Waddy Productions; it is the fore-runner of the widely used photo-fit crime detection system of the 1970s and 80s.

"Shortly after the publication of sociologist Jacques Penry's book How to Read Character from the Face: a Complete Explanation of Character as it is Shown by the Size, Proportion, and Texture of Each Feature London: Hutchinson, 1938, the British company Waddy came out with a game based on Penry's book. As the booklet states, 'The object of the game is not merely the piecing together of features but the building of faces, the features of which are consistent with each other. The eyes, nose, mouth, etc., must not, in its respective 'character,' conflict with any other feature.' A key book describes thirteen distinct facial-character types: acquisitive-shrewd, dissipated, bad-tempered, determined, suave, obsequious, artistic-imaginative, credulous-impractical, magnetic, excitable-impetuous, self-conscious, crafty-self-centered, pleasant-cheerful, and narrow-minded-stubborn. Play continues until someone has selected the correct set of eyes, nose, and mouth" (Princeton University online: Graphic Arts Collection, Firestone Library).

Sociologist-psychologist-photographer Jacques Penry started work on facial identification in the 1930s, work which continued for several decades and culminated in his presentation to the Home Office, in 1968, of his photo-fit system. By the early 1970s photo-fit was a popular police tool throughout the British Isles. Interestingly the game was used in the 1980s by the British School of Service Intelligence (SSI) for terrorist recognition training.

Confused? Read our glossary


Landscape box (268 x 420). Red "lid and bottom" box (dark red lid patterned to resemble leather, gilt lettered). Internally: seven compartments for playing pieces and rules. The game comprises: 4 face cards (two male, two female), eye cards numbered 1-13, nose cards numbered 14-26, mouth cards numbered 27-39, 13 "type" cards, book of Rules & Play, "Book of Keys" (a guide to character types encountered in the game).


A few knocks and bumps to box, a couple of closed-tears to lid but in excellent condition, the eye, nose and mouth cards still in the original glassine wrappers with gold seals (seals broken but intact).


With the exception of framed items*, Peter Harrington offers free delivery on all UK orders of rare books, maps and prints placed through this website. Delivery to USA and the rest of the world is similarly free for orders over £200.

View Full Delivery Details



Established in 1969, Peter Harrington is one of the leading rare book firms in the world. It is a proud member of the Antiquarian Booksellers Association – along with ILAB, the PBFA and Lapada – and from shops in Mayfair and Chelsea, London, sells rare books, prints and ephemera to customers across the world.


Tel: +44 (0)20 7591 0220

ABA Antiquarian Bookseller Association ILAB International League of Antiquarian Booksellers LAPADA The Association of Art and Anatique Dealers PBFA Provincial Booksellers Fairs Association

Our Guarantee Page

Ask us a question


Contact us with details of the book you are interested in or selling and we will contact you

Sell Old Books Help me find a book