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27 results, ordered by Publication Date

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“Das Kriegs Spiel:” an early military card game

Published around 1700, this Kriegs Spiel, or “The War Game,” is a scarce and attractive sheet of playing cards designed to educate young people in the elements of conducting a military campaign. The sheet comprises 53 engraved panels numbered sequentially. All but one is a playing card using the French suits, each bearing an illustration of a military maneuver or fortification […]

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Rare illustrated broadside advertising the “Union Playing Cards”

An attractive and unrecorded broadside advertisement for Union Playing Cards. Background The New York-based American Card Company introduced its Union Playing Cards in 1862, no doubt to capitalize on patriotic fervor early in the Civil War. The cards eliminated the traditional suits and replaced them with an American eagle, the United States flag, a star, and a […]

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Das Festung Baues Spiel: An early military card game

An early, attractive, and scarce sheet of playing cards designed for educating players in the basics of defensive fortification. Das Festung Baues Spiel comprises 52 engraved playing cards numbered sequentially. The cards use the French suits, an image of a fortification, many rather intricate and some quite attractive, along with a paragraph of explanatory text. Along the […]

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Jazaniah Ford "Lafayette" playing cards

1824-24 pack of “Lafayette” playing cards by Jazaniah Ford

An early and rare pack of Jazaniah Ford playing cards commemorating Lafayette’s triumphal return visit to the United States in 1824-25.   In 1824, President James Monroe invited the Marquis de Lafayette, hero of the American Revolution and George Washington’s close companion, to the United States as the “nation’s guest.” During the next fourteen months he visited […]

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Early American playing cards

An early and rare deck of American playing cards, complete and in excellent condition. Playing cards are difficult to produce, requiring special paper and coatings as well as a capacity for color printing, and their manufacture came late to America and probably did not begin until after the Revolution. (Dawson, Hochman Encyclopedia of American Playing Cards, […]

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1669 geographic playing cards by Pierre du Val

Uncut sheet of 17th-century geographic playing cards

A complete and uncut sheet of 17th-century geographic playing cards published in Paris by Pierre du Val likely for educational use. The game includes 52 cards arranged in the usual four suits, each dedicated to a continent: hearts to Europe, diamonds to Asia, spades to Africa, and clubs to the Americas. Each card features a […]

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A 17th-century military card game

An early, attractive, and scarce sheet of playing cards designed for military education. The sheet comprises 53 engraved panels numbered sequentially. All but one panel is a playing card using the French suits, each bearing an illustration of a military maneuver or fortification element along with a brief explanatory text. Along the top of the […]

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Union Playing Cards from the Civil War era

A pack of patriotic playing cards employing patriotic symbols in lieu of the traditional French suits. Complete with the original box in remarkably intact condition. The cards were published in 1862, no doubt both to exploit and encourage patriotic sentiment in the early years of the Civil War. The back of the box tells the story: “THE […]

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Rare geographical card game

A very rare geographical card game featuring cartographic playing cards representing each of the states and territories. The game involves 52 cards, divided into Eastern, Southern, Middle and Western sections, each including twelve state/territory cards plus a city card. Each state card features an outline map depicting rivers, major bodies of water, and the capital, along with […]

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