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Published March 21, 2013 Updated June 03, 2022

American Skat

These decks were produced in various grades for the German immigrant population and feature the German eagle and the German and American flags intertwined. There were two versions: one with German faces and one with American faces.

1889 Germany USA United States Playing Card Co. Gaigel Skat Add to Collection

American Skat Cards

German-style ‘American Skat’ playing cards were first manufactured by the Russell & Morgan Printing Co., Cincinnati, USA, in 1889. These decks were produced in two grades (unenamelled Skat #1 or double-enamelled Skat #2) for the German immigrant population. The designs feature the German eagle and the German and American flags intertwined on the box and reverse. There were two versions: one with German faces (after Wüst's designs) and one with American faces which contained 52 cards and a Joker (Skat #3 & #4). More or less identical ‘Gaigel’ versions followed soon after.

American manufacturers seem to have been attentive to the local immigrant populations (German, Spanish) but also with an eye on possible exports overseas as noted on the box (right).

American Skat No.1, manufactured by the Russell & Morgan Printing Co., 1889

Above: German-style "Skat" playing cards first manufactured by the Russell & Morgan Printing Co., Cincinnati, USA, in 1889. 36 cards, German-style courts with designs after Wüst. Images courtesy Rod Starling.


REFERENCES

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

All images on this page are from the collection of Rod Starling, author of "The Art and Pleasures of Playing Cards".

Read more on Peter Endebrock’s Playing-card Pages here

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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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