Thursday, August 27, 2020

US Playing Card Company

 While I am primarily an aesthetic joker collector (focused on the images), I am growing interested in their history too. This article is part of a series where I review my historical jokers. 

Dougherty  
NYCC jokers
USPC Jokers including Bicycle, Congress  
National Card Company,
Kalamazoo, and Perfection too

And others coming soon.    

 Onto my cards from the US Playing Card Company section.   

Here's an array of my older USPC Congress jokers.  Anyone know the dates (since matching them up with dates is my next project)?
 

This Moon Fairy joker was the joker in the first USPC Congress decks  in 1895 (It seems to match  P 87 of the Hoffman' Card Encyclopedia) but I'm not sure how to truly date it. It's in the crescent moon section.
Here's the Moon Fairy back.




Could this  Dundreary joker be the extremely rate bordered style with flesh tones? I can only hope but since mine is pretty much black and white, it seems unlikely despite the US in the corners and border around Dundreary. I'm looking at US6 Congress #404 and #606 1881 from Hochman P86.


USPC first made the army cards  in 1881, US3 Army #303.  My pair of these jokers might be from the reporudciton was made a century later.




I thought for awhile this was my oldest joker dating from 1896 but I learned that:  "The 1896 version had a star inside of a circle in the corners.  Yours has the interlocked US (the S is superimposed on the U). Also, the 1896 Joker has "The National Card Company" where yours says "Five Hundred".  That substitution was made in 1910. Also, the #13 was added in 1925. I would date your deck to 1927.  Also, looking at your Ace of Spades, it says Russell & Morgan which also points to 1927." (thanks to Brad Starnes). NU13a Hochman 113.


US7b Streamboat #999 c1895 on Hochman P88. Mine has a tiny D48 marked below the picture, Hochman's has a C26 to right of the ship.
These “Stage Playing Cards” are souvenirs from a bygone age but today they have historic and nostalgia value. The court cards and Aces each feature four portraits of famous theatre stars from the 1890s inside round frames, against a background pattern based on traditional court cards. The Joker is Marshall P. Wilder (1859-1915) the famous actor who was one of the first persons with a disability to become a celebrity on his own terms. (WOPC)


This Waterfall joker has the jumbo index on it. They were first introduced by USPC in 1895. Could this joker be from the first jumbo indices? It's on P102 as US34 Jumbo Index #88 






Let's summarize the USPC jokers from this era that I have:

Design joker 84 - missing
Army joker 84
Dundreary 86
Congress 87
Moon Fairy 87
Congress 88
Steamboat 88
Bicycle 89
Bicycles 90
Waterfall 93
Texan 94 - missing
Waterfall 102
Design 105 missing
Design shield 107 missing

Much sorting and research to do: any and all help and advice appreciated.


I'm doing most of my research using three sources: 
-    The Hochman Encyclopedia of American Playing Cards by Tom and Judy Dawson. C 2000.
-    Paper Empires Vol I by Jason McKinstry. C 2019
-    The World of Playing Cards website. WOPC.co.uk 
I'd like to express my deepest thanks to those who create such quality works. You are, in my book, superheroes and celebrities. If I ever get to meet you, I'll ask for a selfie and be proud to have taken it.

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Thanks for your input.