H.Hugueniot, France, 1930s



This is a very unusual game, of which only two copies are known (by me, I mean) and both of them were found (with a 10-year gap) by my friend Marc, who lives in Bretagne, in local fleamarkets or collector's fairs. Unfortunately, both copies are incomplete, missing the board and the rules. One of the copies also misses a couple riders and the -original, I guess- teetotum, but I am really proud to have it in my collection.


Here are the contents of the box Marc sent me: six wooden handpainted riders, 4 cm high, and an old die and gobelet, which are probably not original. Marc's game (see below) has 8 riders and a teetotum instead of a die. My guess is that the teetotum is the original randomizer and that the die was added as a replacement for a lost teetotum. The board is also missing, as are the rules, but I am willing to take the risk and guess that the rules are probably quite simple and that they are printed on the board. Of course, it is just a guess. Anyone want to bet?

By the way, the wooden box measures  20 x 8.5 x 8.5 cm; it looks like a domino box.



The cyclists are quite crudely carved and, well, they do not ride bicycles but monocycles, actually! What is important is that one of them wears the yellow jersey (introduced in the 1919 Tour de France). while the rest appear to wear the colours of national teams, which were introduced in the Tour de France in 1930 along with the team classification (brand teams were not reintroduced until three decades later). It is thus fairly safe to assume that the game was not made before that year.


Here is a front view of the yellow jersey rider; kinda scary!


All the information we have about the game has to be extracted from the paper label pasted on the box, which reads "Le Tour de France, HH, Marque et modèle déposés" and, on the lower line, "H. Hugueniot 21 Place d'Armes  Vernon (Eure) R.C. Evreux 6092".

While of course "HH" is "H.Hugueniot", of whom I have not been able to find any further reference, and Vernon and Évreux are two towns some 30 km apart, both of them belonging to the departement of Eure, in Normandy, the important piece of information here is H.Hugueniots address in Vernon's Place d'Armes. This square was severely damaged during WWII, being bombed by the Germans in 1940 and then by the Allies in 1944. After the liberation the square had to be rebuilt, and it was renamed Place Charles de Gaulle in November 1944.

So it is safe to assume that this game was produced before the beginning of WWII.

On the other hand, I wonder if "R.C. Évreux 6092" can provide further information. Does anyone know what "R.C." means in this context? And what about "6092"? The latter looks like a postal code to modern eyes, but I do not think it is one. It might be a telephone number; as far as I know, they were composed of four digits in interwar France, but they were often written with a dash separing the digits in two pairs, and I have not been able to find whether "6092" is a likely Normandy phone number.


Here is Marc's more complete copy (Marc took this picture too)


So, all we can say about this game is that it was produced in Normandy sometime between 1930 and 1939, that it was most probably a small edition, and that therefore it must have been distributed only locally. Needless to say, any further information or opinion about it will be welcome.




Big thanks, Mark, for this one!

Description written in May 2024