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  1862 CIVIL WAR PLAYING CARDS WITH STARS, FLAGS, SHIELDS, & EAGLES, AND FACE CARDS ILLUSTRATING CIVIL WAR OFFICERS AND LADY COLUMBIA, CA 1862, BENJAMIN HITCHCOCK, NEW YORK
Dimensions (inches): 43.25" x 43.25"
Description:
1862 Civil War playing cards with suits represented by stars, flags, shields, & eagles, in lieu of the traditional French suits of hearts, diamonds, clubs, and spades. The face cards feature Union Army officers and Lady Columbia [a.k.a. Lady Liberty, Goddess of Liberty]. Entitled “Union Playing Cards,” two versions of this deck were produced in New York by Benjamin W. Hitchcock’s “American Card Company.” This is the earlier of the two. The other was released in 1863.

There are 52 cards in total with the ace of spades doubling as the title card, as was often the case during the 19th century. The telescoping box has printed wraps and the interior bears a revenue stamp (used to collect taxes or fees on playing cards, documents, tobacco, alcoholic drinks, medicinal drugs, hunting licenses, firearm registration, etc.).

Text on the box reads as follows:

“THE AMERICAN CARD CO. Confident that the introduction of NATIONAL EMBLEMS in place of Foreign, in PLAYING CARDS, will be hailed with delight by the American People, take pleasure in presenting the UNION PLAYING CARDS. As the first and only Genuine American Cards ever produced, in the fullest confidence that the time is not far distant when they will be the leading Card in the American market….

The Union Cards are calculated to play all the Games for which the old style of Playing Cards are used. The suits are EAGLES, SHIELDS, STARS, and FLAGS, GODDESS OF LIBERTY in place of Queen, COLONEL for King, MAJOR for Jack. In playing with these Cards, they are to be called by the names the emblems represent, and as the Emblems are as familiar as household words, everywhere among the American people, they can be used as readily the first occasion as Cards bearing Foreign emblems.”

Benjamin Hitchcock was owner of a music and publishing business at 14 Chambers St., Manhattan. The business consisted of sheet music, books, musical instruments, printing presses and type, etc. American Card Company had offices at both this address and 165 William St.

Mounting: The cards have been mounted using mylar corners and so are easily removable. The background is 100% cotton twill, black in color. The black fabric has been washed to reduce excess dye. An acid-free agent was added to the wash to further set the dye and the fabric was heat-treated for the same purpose. The mount was placed in a black-painted Italian molding, to which a rippled profile molding, black with gold highlights, was added as a liner. The glazing is U.V. protective plexiglass.

Condition: The ace of eagles is period, and is from this version of cards by Hitchcock, but was taken from another deck, the original having been lost at some point. Light soiling and toning and some wear from obvious use throughout. Moderate wear to box.
   
Primary Color: black, red, white, blue
Earliest Date: 1862
Latest Date: 1862
For Sale Status: Available
Price Please call (717) 676-0545 or (717) 502-1281
E-mail: info@jeffbridgman.com
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