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Published February 15, 2013 Updated July 17, 2023

The Stage No.65

The court cards and Aces each feature four portraits of famous theatre stars from the 1890s inside round frames, against a background pattern based on traditional court cards.

1890 USA United States Playing Card Co. Souvenir Theatre Add to Collection

The United States Playing Card Co., Cincinnati, 1896

These “Stage Playing Cards” are souvenirs from a bygone age but today they have historic and nostalgia value. The court cards and Aces each feature four portraits of famous theatre stars from the 1890s inside round frames, against a background pattern based on traditional court cards. The Joker is Marshall P. Wilder (1859-1915) the famous actor who was one of the first persons with a disability to become a celebrity on his own terms.

See: the box

Stage No.65 playing cards published by the United States Playing Card Co., Cincinnati, 1896

Above: "Stage No.65x" playing cards featuring pictures of stage stars on each card, published by the United States Playing Card Co., Cincinnati, 1896. Gold edges. Images courtesy Rod Starling.


The Alternate Version

A second version of the deck exists having the denomination of the Jacks, Queens and Kings printed inside the suit symbol. Both versions were published until c.1900.

Above: "Stage No.65" playing cards featuring pictures of stage stars on each card, with the denomination of the Jacks, Queens and Kings printed inside the suit symbol, published by the United States Playing Card Co., Cincinnati, 1896. Images courtesy David C. Kelzenberg.


REFERENCES

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

Starling, Rod: Tales from the Stage, in 'Clear the Decks', the Newsletter for 52 Plus Joker (edited by Judy Dawson).

See also: Monarch Bicycle, 1895Craddock Soap Stage Souvenir, 1895The Stage No.65, 1908Movie Souvenir Playing Cards, 1916

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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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