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Published March 22, 2018 Updated March 20, 2022

No.4 Special Whist

No.4 Special Whist (American Skat) playing cards made by the Russell & Morgan Printing Company, 1889.

1889 USA Russell & Morgan Skat Whist Add to Collection

No.4 Special Whist (‘American Skat’) playing cards made by the Russell & Morgan Printing Company, Cincinnati, 1889. In the late 19th century the game of Skat was apparently popular with German immigrants. Eventually the game of Whist began to supersede Skat. The problem was that Skat is played with a deck of either 32 or 36 cards while Whist is played with 52 cards. This deck appears to be an effort to satisfy the devotees of both games. It was discontinued after 1901. See the Box

No.4 Special Whist (American Skat) playing cards made by the Russell & Morgan Printing Company, 1889 No.4 Special Whist (American Skat) playing cards made by the Russell & Morgan Printing Company, 1889 No.4 Special Whist (American Skat) playing cards made by the Russell & Morgan Printing Company, 1889 No.4 Special Whist (American Skat) playing cards made by the Russell & Morgan Printing Company, 1889 No.4 Special Whist (American Skat) playing cards made by the Russell & Morgan Printing Company, 1889

Above: No.4 Special Whist (American Skat) playing cards made by the Russell & Morgan Printing Company, 1889. 52 cards + joker. The rare joker is printed with light green ink and gives rise to a comical reaction from everyone who sees it. The ace of spades is nicely ornate and reads “American Skat U.S. Playing Cards”. The back design features the German eagle and the German and American flags intertwined. It was also used on the German suited decks, Skat No.1, Skat No.2 and Gaigel No. 4 all, no doubt, with the German Immigrants in mind. The telescope box is puzzling. At the time the deck was made and for quite sometime thereafter, the card company issued its decks in very attractive boxes. This deck is in a rather nondescript jet black box with gold lettering.

ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS & REFERENCES

Images and notes courtesy Rod Starling.

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

Note: North American Skat is a trick-taking card game using a 32 card deck created from a standard deck stripped of all cards lower than 7.

See: American Skat Defined

See also: American Skat No.1

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By Rod Starling

Member since January 09, 2013

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


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