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Lawrence & Cohen

Lawrence & Cohen were successors to Lawrence, Cohen & Co.

Lawrence & Cohen were successors to Lawrence, Cohen & Co.. During the relatively short period that Lawrence & Cohen decks were produced with the William Street address (c.1860-1873) both single and double-ended courts were manufactured. The court card designs closely resemble those of some British manufacturers, especially De la Rue, and a certain amount of copying went on between Belgian, English and American manufacturers. The company was merged into The New York Consolidated Card Company in 1871.

The Lawrence & Cohen illuminated deck was issued in 1863. It was a beautiful deck and a fine example of craftsmanship but it stood in stark contrast to the horror of the Battle of Gettysburg that was fought that year with the loss of American lives from both the North and the South totalling in the tens of thousands in just one day.

Superfine Florigated Playing Cards by Lawrence & Cohen, c.1863 Superfine Florigated Playing Cards

Above: 'Superfine Florigated Playing Cards', a richly illuminated deck produced by Lawrence & Cohen, c.1863, with gold added to the colour scheme.

Bijou Patience cards made by Lawrence & Cohen, c.1860

Above: Bijou Cards, a patience size deck with one-way courts very similar to the above example, made by Lawrence & Cohen, c.1860.

In the double-ended versions, although more convenient, many charming features of the designs are lost.

Double-ended cards made by Lawrence & Cohen, c.1863

Above: Double-ended Bézique cards made by Lawrence & Cohen, 184 William Street, New York, c.1863. Image courtesy Mark Hayward.

Lawrence & Cohen decided to hire Owen Jones, the English playing card designer who produced back designs for De La Rue (London), to design new backs. The De La Rue Ace of Spades was also adapted for use by Lawrence & Cohen, but the crown was soon to be replaced by an eagle.

Deck with back designed by Owen Jones, c.1865 Lawrence & Cohen advert for Imperial Club Mogul Playing Cards with near East imagery, c.1868

Above: deck with back design and ace of spades designed by Owen Jones, made by Lawrence & Cohen, c.1865.   more →

Right: Lawrence & Cohen advert for Imperial Club Mogul Playing Cards with near East imagery, c.1868.

Lawrence & Cohen merged into The New York Consolidated Card Company in 1871.


REFERENCES

Dawson, Tom & Judy: The Hochman Encyclopedia of American Playing Cards, U.S. Games Systems Inc., 2000

Lodge, Ken: The Standard English Pattern (second revised and enlarged edition), Bungay, Suffolk, 2010

Starling, Rod: Shuffling Along with History, in 'Clear the Decks', the Newsletter for 52 Plus Joker (edited by Judy Dawson), September 2010

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By Simon Wintle

Member since February 01, 1996

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Curator 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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