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Published September 01, 2017 Updated July 30, 2023

Fortune Telling playing cards

English Fortune Telling cards probably published c.1770.

1770 United Kingdom Cartomancy History Add to Collection

We think that these early English fortune telling cards were published by S. Hooper, a Book and Print Publisher of various London addresses during the period 1766 to 1792, Strand, Ludgate Hill, Arundal Street, Dukes Court and Holborn. He is also known for publishing his ‘Conversation Cards’. See the Instructions

The wording printed on each card conforms to that found in the work on the oldest cartomancy meanings in English: “Dr. Flamstead’s and Mr. Patridge’s New Fortune-Book containing their new-invented method of knowing one’s fortune by a pack of cards” published c.1729, for further discussion see Mary K. Greer's Blog - https://goo.gl/JzSWR2

Fortune Telling cards probably published in London, c.1770

Above: cards from a pack of Fortune Telling cards, probably published in London, c.1770. The court cards are of the early style. Jacks have Fleur de Lys between their feet, black jacks feathers in their hats, king of clubs holds Cross of Lorraine, diamonds and hearts are red stencilled cards (including court cards) but excluding borders and legend. The Black Wheel of Fortune card has many pin holes in it - as it should - it is used to select the cards which then reveal your fortune. The lack of Aces is explained by the Instruction Card (Direction The First): "The conjurer being obliged to multiply the 12 signs of the Zodiac by the four seasons of the year could only employ 48 cards, was therefore commanded by the oracle of Delphos to exclude the 4 aces". However, the referenced source above does give rhyming couplets for the four aces.

REFERENCES and CREDITS

Images and notes kindly contributed by John Sings

Mary K. Greer: Oldest Cartomancy Meanings in English

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By Simon Wintle

Member since February 01, 1996

Founder and editor of the World of Playing Cards since 1996. He is a former committee member of the IPCS and was graphics editor of The Playing-Card journal for many years. He has lived at various times in Chile, England and Wales and is currently living in Extremadura, Spain. Simon's first limited edition pack of playing cards was a replica of a seventeenth century traditional English pack, which he produced from woodblocks and stencils.


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