Willis W. Russell started a modest playing card business in Milltown, a small town in northern New Jersey, early in the 20th century. Production commenced in 1905 and numerous brands were successfully introduced. These include Recruits, Regents, Rustlers, Regulars, Rattlers, Moguls, Club Moguls, Retrievers and Blue Ribbon. However, the company fell into financial difficulties, which was unfortunate seeing that their cards were of a superior quality. It ceased operations in 1911 and was sold at public auction. The business was salvaged by Mr Benjamin Rosenthal who merged the former Willis W. Russell and Kalamazoo Playing Card Companies into Russell Playing Card Company. In 1914 the American Bank Note Company's playing card division was also acquired and merged into the company, and thereafter the Russell Playing Card Company became successful.
Willis W. Russell's “Regulars” were first issued in c.1906, a brand aimed at the armed forces, in tribute to men of the “regular army”. It was patented with ‘Long Distance Pips’ with shading in the hearts and spades. These are sometimes known as ‘No Revoke’ decks. The pictured box is one of the most attractive ever produced. Read more →
Willis W. Russell included an extra card in each deck to allow the owner to request a replacement for any lost card.
The “Smart Set 400” brand with named backs had been introduced by the Kalamazoo Playing Card Co. in Michigan. After Kalamazoo merged with the Russell Playing Card Co the “Smart Set 400” series continued to be published by the Russell Playing Card Co under its own name and with its own Ace of Spades. Read more →
In 1929 Russell Playing Card Co became a division of the United States Playing Card Company and many brands continued to be produced with the Russell Ace of Spades.
Member since January 09, 2013
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.
A limited edition art print of the Queen of Clubs 1984 woodblock joker.
A limited edition art print of the King of Diamonds 1984 woodblock joker.
Romeo and Juliet playing cards illustrated by Belgian artist Virginie Carquin 2016.
Based on the knowledge, wisdom and interpretation of Paul Foster Case and Arthur Edward Waite.
“The New Palladini Tarot” by David Palladini published by U.S. Games Inc., in 1996.
The Aquarian Tarot Deck illustrated by David Palladini, published by Morgan Press, Inc., 1970.
The Linweave Tarot is actually an elaborate set of paper samples from the Pulp, Paper and Board Divi...
Photographs of political and media figures associated with the Presidency of Donald Trump (2017-2021...
Reproductions of cigarette cards from 1910 on the subject of the early days of aviation.
Dinosaurs from different ages and locations, with artwork by Virginijus Poshkus.
A different dinosaur for each of the four suits, two printed in red and two in blue.
Eclipse Comic playing cards is a reproduction of the first transformation pack printed in the USA in...
Old West Guns playing cards containing information about firearms from the Old West, USA.
Centennial Olympic Games playing cards celebrating the centenary of the modern Olympic Games, 1896-1...
‘Star Wars: a New Hope’ playing cards to celebrate the 30th anniversary of the film Star Wars, USA, ...
American President Lines shipping souvenir playing cards, early to mid-1950s.
Royal Hawaiian playing cards published by the Royal Hawaiian Playing Card Company, Honolulu.
Official souvenir pack showing 52 coloured exhibits from the New York World’s Fair, 1964-6.
“Buffalo soldiers” playing cards commemorating African American military men who helped change the f...
‘Century of Progress’ Exposition playing cards produced by Western Playing Card Company, USA, 1933. ...
Bicycle Negro League Baseball Museum souvenir playing cards, USA, 2012.
New York City souvenir playing cards with 53 different views of interest, USA, 1915.
The Disney Villains tarot deck by Insight Editions emphasises iconic villains, merging traditional t...
Nation’s capital souvenir playing cards published by the United States Playing Card Company, USA, 19...
Caricatures by Garth Stackhouse of American politicians involved in the 1996 presidential campaign.
Nile Fortune cards no.68x published by the United States Playing Card Company, USA, 1904.