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Dimensions (inches): 36.5" x 36.5" x 3"
This extremely rare card game, designed with Civil War context, was made by McLoughlin Brothers in New York City. The set includes 12 (complete) chromolithographed, character playing cards, and 68 (out of 72) object cards, with various accoutrements. All of the above are housed in a wooden storage box with a slide lid and a chromolithographed, paper label.

Played in an ad-lib, story-telling format, the characters include the Colonel, the Captain, the Zouave soldier with red pantaloons, the Rifleman, the Artilleryman, the Riding Master, the Musician, the Ferrier, the Surgeon, the Sapper (engineer), the Sutler (cook), and the Vi Vandeer (a woman who takes care of the troops).

Each character was originally linked to 6 objects, which were to be produced by players on demand during a spoken reading of the game’s convoluted story-line. There are actually 69 cards included here, one of which is an object card for “the Chinaman.” Since the card matches the style exactly in printing, shape, and scale, and since there was no Chinaman in this game, I presume that the card must have once accompanied another McLaughlin ad-lib deck.

The instructions (reproduced, in scale) list 13 possible players, with the 13th acting as narrator. I could locate only 3 other copies of this extremely rare game, all of which included 12 cards.

McLoughlin Brothers is said to have pioneered the systematic use of color printing technologies in children’s books. The publishing firm opened in 1820 and was active until 1920, when it was sold to Milton Bradley. During the early years, the product line included toys in addition to books, among which were games, blocks, and paper dolls. Artwork from famous illustrators such as Thomas Nast, William Momberger, Ida Waugh” (Laura Wasowicz), Justin Howard, and Palmer Cox, decorated the firm’s many objects and publications. This is, in fact, where their works earned their popularity. Some of the most collected and valuable American game boards were produced by the McLoughlins.

The character cards and label of this deck are almost the work of Justin H. Howard, whose political cartoons appeared regularly in Harper’s Weekly beside those of Thomas Nast. In February of 1871 McLoughlin Brothers moved its operations to 71 Duane Street (as listed here on the lid label).

Mounting: The cards have been mounted using mylar corners and so are easily removable. The box was countersunk into the mounting board and is held on with a length of mylar. 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 beveled, gold molding was added as a liner. A shadowbox was created to keep the glazing away from the cards. This was wrapped in burgundy red fabric. The glazing is U.V. protective plexiglass.

Condition: Moderate wear to box. 4 object cards absent. Modest to moderate edge wear, creasing and staining.
Primary Color: black, red, white, gold
Earliest Date: 1871
Latest Date: 1871
For Sale Status: Available
Price Please call (717) 676-0545 or (717) 502-1281
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