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Rod Starling

Member since January 09, 2013

Rod Starling was one of the founding members of the 52 Plus Joker card collectors club. He authored many articles for the club's quarterly newsletter, Clear the Decks. His collection encompasses both foreign and American decks. Rod also authored a book titled The Art and Pleasures of Playing Cards.

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1888 Cabinet No.707

Cabinet No.707

Russell & Morgan's “Cabinet No.707” brand was first introduced in 1888.

1895 Trophy Whist

Trophy Whist

Trophy Whist No.39 playing cards published by the the United States Playing Card Co., 1895.

1900 Nineteenth Century Pack

Nineteenth Century Pack

A magnificent example of Goodall & Son’s range of chromolithographed Commemorative playing cards from the late nineteenth century..

1881 Navy No.303

Navy No.303

The second edition of 1883 has slightly larger indices and a more simplified Ace of Spades showing two sailing ships.

1896 New Era No.46

New Era No.46

“New Era No.46”, based around European fashions, was soon followed with “Circus No.47”, “Hustling Joe No.61” and “Ye Witches No.62”.

1899 Anheuser-Busch


The Kings show American admirals and the Jacks have different officers at each end. The Queens are “Our Colonies”.

1881 Army & Navy No.303

Army & Navy No.303

Over the years eight different Aces of Spades were used with this brand and the Joker was also modified several times.

1881 Army No.303

Army No.303

The Joker is particularly persuasive, whilst the Ace of Spades has a battle scene involving artillery, with Navy ships in the distance and the statue of the goddess of Freedom in the middle.

1883 Steamboat No.999

Steamboat No.999

Owing to the romantic appeal of gambling on the Mississippi river many manufacturers added “Steamboats” to their range, differentiated by a number, such as 999.

1903 Kalamazoo Playing Card Co

Kalamazoo Playing Card Co

This firm commenced producing playing cards with the name Kalamazoo Paper Box & Card Co in 1903.

The Steamboat Brand

The theme of steamboats navigating up and down the Mississippi also extended to the cotton plantations alongside the river and to African American people employed therein who were sometimes depicted on the special Joker card.

1890 Steamboats No.99

Steamboats No.99

Steamboats No.99 was one of a number of brands produced by the American Playing Card Co. of Kalamazoo.

1903 Steamboats No.66

Steamboats No.66

Steamboats #66 playing cards manufactured by the Kalamazoo Paper Box & Card Co., c.1903.

1885 Superior Steamboats No.9

Superior Steamboats No.9

This deck was of slightly superior quality than it's predecessor “National Steamboats No.9” and is enhanced by a more picturesque Ace of Spades.

1896 Circus No.47

Circus No.47

“Circus No.47”, first issued in 1896. The staid old Kings, Queens and Jacks have given way to various well-known ring masters, clowns and queens; dashing circus designs. Indeed, the clown Jacks are only a short step away from Jokers!

1881 Tigers No.101

Tigers No.101

In 1881 Russell, Morgan & Company commenced playing card production by issuing six grades of cards with new, purely American names.

1806 Löschenkohl’s Botanical Playing Cards

Löschenkohl’s Botanical Playing Cards

Löschenkohl produced a second copper engraved deck, the Botanical Playing Cards, in 1806. This deck, as well as the Musical Playing Cards, were produced shortly before Löschenkohl’s death.

1617 Das Kupferstichspiel des I.M.F. von 1617

Das Kupferstichspiel des I.M.F. von 1617

Playing cards had been made as precious objects for wealthy clients since the late 14th century. They were made to look at, admire and to keep in curiosity cabinets, or perhaps to entertain ladies or educate children rather than to play with.

1895 Jeu Louis XV

Jeu Louis XV

B.P. Grimaud of Paris issued this very ornate costume deck called “Jeu Louis XV No.1502” in c.1895. It has been so popular that it has been re-published on numerous occasions and is still available today in modern re-prints or facsimiles.

Tales from the Stage

"Tales from the Stage" - an article about theatrical playing cards by Rod Starling

1908 Stage Playing Cards, 1908

Stage Playing Cards, 1908

This beautiful deck features an oval half-tone photo of a theatre star on each card, many of them legendary names, along with their autograph beneath.

1890 The Stage No.65

The Stage No.65

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.

1895 Craddock Soap Stage Souvenir

Craddock Soap Stage Souvenir

The deck is described on the box as “a portfolio of photographs of the leading lights of the stage”

1916 Movie Souvenir Playing Cards

Movie Souvenir Playing Cards

Special souvenir playing cards for entertainment events such as theatre or sport were an early form of merchandising. After the first edition of this deck in 1916, subsequent issues featured new photos as new stars rose to fame.

1856 Jeu des Rois de France

Jeu des Rois de France

This beautifully engraved and pleasing deck designed in 1856 has French Kings and consorts as the Kings and Queens, with noble attendants as the Jacks, all dressed in magnificent period costumes.

1921 De Luxe No.142

De Luxe No.142

A wide size version of De Luxe No.142 had been published in c.1920, with a similar Ace of Spades and Joker, but which was never very popular.

1920 Lighthouse No.922

Lighthouse No.922

“Lighthouse No.922” playing cards were introduced in c.1920.

Triton No.42

There have been at least three different versions of the Triton deck, with different Jokers, different styles of court cards and slight differences in the lettering on the Ace of Spades and/or Joker. The cards were advertised as “double enameled”.

1853 Jeu de Costumes Historiques

Jeu de Costumes Historiques

These cards are from neatly etched plates, and are carefully coloured. The court cards present full-length figures in character costumes.

1856 Jeu de Costumes Historiques Anglais

Jeu de Costumes Historiques Anglais

The courts are full-length figures of English historical personages.

1848 French Costumes

French Costumes

The French taste for elegant, well engraved costume playing cards started during the early 19th century. O. Gibert of Paris produced a series of such fashion packs, or packs depicting historical characters.

Charles Bartlet

Elaborate court cards on a deck by Charles Bartlet, Philadelphia, (who was in fact Samuel Hart) c.1845-60. The pip cards are double-ended. The date may be somewhere between c.1845-65.

1885 Tally-Ho


The earliest Ace of Spades had the Centre Street address and the Jolly Joker was used until the “Tally-Ho” Joker was introduced in the early 1900s. The brand has seen only minor variations over the years.

1894 Indicator No.50

Indicator No.50

No.50 appears at the bottom of the Ace of Spades and the cards have corner indices and miniature suit symbols in the corners.

1878 Triplicate No.18

Triplicate No.18

Dougherty first secured a patent for “Triplicates” in 1876, a novel type of indices with a miniature card in the top left-hand corner (and bottom right).

1850 Andrew Dougherty c.1850

Andrew Dougherty c.1850

The idiosyncratic courts used in this deck were used by several other U.S. manufacturers, including Crehore and Hart, and continued into the early 1900s in Faro decks.

1883 Ivorette


Dougherty was at the forefront of innovation, adding Best Bowers and then Jokers, rounded corners and various types of indices, or indicators, to his cards.

1897 Cruiser Playing Cards

Cruiser Playing Cards

Dougherty's ‘Cruiser No.96’, first published c.1897, was dedicated to the U.S. Navy..

1906 Russell’s Regulars

Russell’s Regulars

Willis W. Russell’s “Regulars” were first issued in c.1906, a brand aimed at the armed forces, in tribute to men of the “regular army”. It was patented with ‘Long Distance Pips’ with shading in the hearts and spades.

1905 Russell Playing Card Co.

Russell Playing Card Co.

Willis W. Russell started a modest playing card business in Milltown, a small town in northern New Jersey, in 1905.

1906 Smart Set 400

Smart Set 400

The “Smart Set 400” brand with named backs was introduced in c.1906 by the Kalamazoo Playing Card Co. in Michigan. Kalamazoo subsequently merged with the Russell Playing Card Co. in around 1913 or 1914. Thereafter the “Smart Set 400” series continued to be published by the Russell Playing Card Co.

1909 Norwood #85, c.1909

Norwood #85, c.1909

The deck features a colourful Ace of Spades and Joker, decorated Aces, unique courts and two beautiful back designs featuring fine art paintings.

1918 Soldaten Tarock

Soldaten Tarock

Piatnik was known for their magnificent quality of chromo-lithographic printing, and this facsimile, or reprint, of “Soldaten Tarock No. 217” is virtually as magnificent as the original.