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Playing cards have been with us since the 14th century, when they first entered popular culture. Over the centuries packs of cards, in all shapes and sizes, have been used for games, gambling, education, conjuring, advertising, fortune telling, political messages or the portrayal of national or ethnic identity. All over the world, whatever language is spoken, their significance is universal. Their popularity is also due to the imaginative artwork and graphic design which is sometimes overlooked, and the “then & now” of how things have changed.

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”.

The “Triton No.42” brand was first introduced by the N.Y. Consolidated Card Co. in around 1890 as one of their more expensive brands and part of their ‘Squeezer’ range, with “perfect slip”. The cards were advertised as “double enamelled”. 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. Triton is a mythological Greek god, the messenger of the sea. He is usually represented as a merman, having the upper body of a human and the tail of a fish, as seen here on the Ace of Spades and Joker. Triton cards were aimed to be preferred by the leading clubs and Army and Navy.

“Triton No.42” brand playing cards with the “Triton” Joker, c.1895
“Triton No.42” playing cards box “Triton No.42” playing cards back

Right: another back design →

Above: N.Y. Consolidated Card Co's “Triton No.42” brand playing cards with the “Triton” Joker, c.1895. The court card designs are inspired by those of De la Rue. Images courtesy Rod Starling.

Right: Click the box to zoom →

“Triton No.42” playing cards advert, 1892

Above: Triton advert, c.1892.


REFERENCES

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

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By Rod Starling

Member since January 09, 2013

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

Also by Rod Starling

Download as Adobe PDF files:

"Playing Card Art Collectors Extraordinaire"

"Some Facts About Facsimiles"

"Something New and Topical"

"Tales From the Stage"

"Shuffling Along With History"

"Steamboat Cards and the Mississippi Mystique"

"Piatnik: High Quality & Longevity"

"Three Rare Playing Card Back Designs"

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Triton No.42

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”.