King of the marbles

…We used to go to Jackie Coyles’ shop or Mrs Savages as they sold bags of marbles (or Alleys as we knew them). Sometimes there would be double sized ones in the bag. We called them “Kings”, “Doublers” or “Bombers”, depending on who you played with.
To win a King, Doubler or Bomber you had to hit it twice in succession with a smaller one. On rare occasions someone would turn up with a steel ball (a ball bearing). Everyone wanted one as you couldn’t buy them. These were known as “Penkers” but I don’t know where the name came from. You tried to avoid playing against a Penker on the road or path and usually played on grass because if your marble ended up on the pavement during a game and was hit it invariably smashed so you couldn’t get a chance to win it back.

It was a game, back then, where, if you won quite a few you felt quite important and kids would knock on your door to challenge you. There again, fortunes could change on a daily basis and where you could have a substantial amount one day they could be all gone the next. The really colourful ones I kept back…..
Prints available. 50cm x 40cm £45.  42cm x 30cm £30.


  • and
  • black
  • nostalgic
  • art
  • neighbours
  • games
  • playing
  • children
  • kids
  • streets
  • back
  • marbles
  • monochrome
  • oil
  • painting
  • jack
  • russell
  • white

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30 x 23 cm
oil on canvas
5 Years ago

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(ruler scale: 2m  -  6'6")

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About the artist

Girls and their dolls
gary smith

oil paintings, fine art prints


147 works in paintingmixed media

Member for:

member for 6 Years


Durham United Kingdom
see "King of the marbles" on gary smith's website

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