This is a facsimile reproduction of the semi-transformation pack made in 1865 by Dean & Son of London, best known as a publisher of children’s books. It was published by F.G. & Co. in 2004 and made in the U.S. The square-cornered cards themselves appear to target a children’s audience with delightful and eclectic illustrations in red and black. The court cards depict gods, goddesses, clerks, queens, an odd scarecrow, Mr Punch and some Shakespearean characters. It is semi-transformation in the sense that the pips are integrated into the art on each card, but are not in their standard positions, having been moved around to accommodate the art work. The pack has 52 suited cards, plus 2 jokers. See the box►
Dean & Son was a 19th-century London publishing firm, best known for making and mass-producing moveable children's books and toy books, established around 1800. Thomas Dean founded the firm, probably in the late 1790s, and his son George (1822-1891) became a partner in 1847. See here for more information
F.G.’s website is closed and appears to have gone out of business, but the following was taken from the F.G. site before its demise:
“Inspiration for F. G. & Co. products comes from an extensive, ever expanding, private archive of museum quality antique games and ephemera. Focusing on innovative graphic design, Gianna Majzler and Darren Calkins reinterpret their picturesque collection into enchanting paper crowns, graphically detailed gift tags, stunning playing cards and games, whimsical wrapping papers, party favors and other inspired home accents”.
“Thanks to F. G. & Co., contemporary players can enjoy the unique appeal of games like LA-Tee-Da Transformation, The Game of Ship's Cargo and Mademoiselle D'Arville Cards of Fortune as welcome alternatives to intense electronic or all-too-familiar board games. Beautifully printed and presented in keepsake boxes, each retains all the interest and charm of their original graphics”.
• SEE ALSO: Field, Albert Transformation playing cards, Stamford, CT: US Games Systems, 1987, pp. 113-115
Member since July 27, 2022
I graduated in Russian and East European Studies from Birmingham University in 1969. It was as an undergraduate in Moscow in 1968 that I stumbled upon my first 3 packs of “unusual” playing cards which fired my curiosity and thence my life-long interest. I began researching and collecting cards in the early 1970s, since when I’ve acquired over 3,330 packs of non-standard cards, mainly from North America, UK and Western Europe, and of course from Russia and the former communist countries.
Following my retirement from the Bodleian Library in Dec. 2007 I took up a new role as Head of Library Development at the International Network for the Availability of Scientific Publications (INASP) to support library development in low-income countries. This work necessitated regular training visits to many sub-Saharan African countries and also further afield, to Vietnam, Nepal and Bangladesh – all of which provided rich opportunities to further expand my playing card collection.
Since 2019 I’ve been working part-time in the Bodleian Library where I’ve been cataloguing the bequest of the late Donald Welsh, founder of the English Playing Card Society.
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