Russell, Morgan & Co: Army No.303, c.1881
Armed Services playing cards were part of several manufacturer's range of brands in an appeal to patriotic loyalty and as a tribute. Russell, Morgan & Co produced both Army and “Navy” decks as part of their original range in 1881. Incidentally, this was the same year that Clara Barton founded the Red Cross. These two brands were subsequently merged into an Army & Navy #303 brand in c.1884. The Joker in this example is particularly persuasive, whilst the Ace of Spades has a battle scene involving artillery, with Navy ships in the distance and the statue of the goddess of Freedom in the middle.
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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
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