I have completely fallen in love with Spillikins/Spellicans, which I just recently discovered….they were a predecessor to jack straws and pick up sticks, which from what I understand originated in China but became very popular as a parlor game in Victorian England. I found an antique wooden set first, and now these fantastic bone ones, and what incredibly beautiful objects I think they are, as well as fun to play!
I think what we have here is actually two sets (at least) which were likely combined some time ago—some of them original to this box, and the wonderfully painted ones (with fish, birds and abstract shapes that read like fanciful handles of long thin swords) I’d bet are one of a kind. The ones with the red markings (Roman numerals I denoting their point values) are a bit heavier in weight and somewhat easier to pick up; the slightly darker ones and the painted ones are almost paper thin—but all are bone. And the two “hooks” are significantly heavier than the rest, as one would expect, as they are used to “pick up” the others.
To play, one drops--spills--the spillikins onto the table, then players alternately use the hook tool to try to lift and extract pieces without disturbing any others, continuing until failing. Once an "attack" has begun to extract one piece, a player may not shift their attempt to a different piece on that turn. The player with the most points at the end wins, though just playing as a solitaire endeavor is pretty consuming too!
Pieces measure about 4 1/2” long. Box—into which they fit quite snugly, measures 4 5/8” x x 1 7/8” x 7/8”. I weeded out a couple of broken ones—all of these are in terrific condition, as is the box. I count 76 of them total.