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Published October 14, 2020 Updated July 14, 2022

Caleb Bartlett

Caleb Bartlett patriotic deck (reproduction), around 1835-40.

1840 USA Caleb Bartlett Facsimiles & Replicas Patriotic Add to Collection

Old Sturbridge Village reproduction deck. The original, with illustrated courts and non-standard pip colours, was first compiled by Caleb Bartlett but published after he had been taken over by Abbot & Ely, as mentioned on the ace of spades, in around 1835 to 1840. The cards have a lot in common with other early patriotic decks by Jaz Ford and J. Y. Humphries incorporating historical and allegorical figures

See the Box

Caleb Bartlett also made a copy of Ackermann's Transformation pack in 1833.

Old Sturbridge Village Repro Caleb Bartlett pack Old Sturbridge Village Repro Caleb Bartlett pack

Above: Old Sturbridge Village repro Caleb Bartlett pack.


Feb 1825
Caleb Bartlett, c.1830

Above: standard cards by Caleb Bartlett, dating from around 1830. One nice feature of the courts is that they all have the makers initials embedded in the design, a feature that can aid in identification. Plainbacks.com

Caleb Bartlett, c.1830

Above: Caleb Bartlett, c.1830.

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By Rex Pitts (1940-2021)

Member since January 30, 2009

Rex's main interest was in card games, because, he said, they were cheap and easy to get hold of in his early days of collecting. He is well known for his extensive knowledge of Pepys games and his book is on the bookshelves of many.

His other interest was non-standard playing cards. He also had collections of sheet music, music CDs, models of London buses, London Transport timetables and maps and other objects that intrigued him.

Rex had a chequered career at school. He was expelled twice, on one occasion for smoking! Despite this he trained as a radio engineer and worked for the BBC in the World Service.

Later he moved into sales and worked for a firm that made all kinds of packaging, a job he enjoyed until his retirement. He became an expert on boxes and would always investigate those that held his cards. He could always recognize a box made for Pepys, which were the same as those of Alf Cooke’s Universal Playing Card Company, who printed the card games. This interest changed into an ability to make and mend boxes, which he did with great dexterity. He loved this kind of handicraft work.

His dexterity of hand and eye soon led to his making card games of his own design. He spent hours and hours carefully cutting them out and colouring them by hand.


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