In 1881 Russell, Morgan & Company commenced playing card production by issuing a range of brands:
The distinctive Ace of Spades features the Statue of the Goddess of Freedom, based on the bronze statue designed by Thomas Crawford (1814-1857) that, since 1863, has crowned the dome of the U.S. Capitol in Washington, D.C. The Aces and Jokers usually also contained elaborate and picturesque engravings. Other new brands followed shortly, including:
In 1885 the business was renamed as “Russell & Morgan Printing Company”, as seen in the calendar page (right).
In 1891 the company name was changed yet again to “The United States Printing Co.” and then in 1894 “The United States Playing Card Company” was incorporated to hold all the playing card manufacturing operations. This sequence of events can be followed in the inscriptions on the Aces of Spades in successive editions of their playing cards.
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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
A pack inspired by the Iran-Contra affair or Gipper-gate during the Reagan era, produced by R. Billingsley, USA, 1987.
Limited edition gift set issued to mark the American Bicentennial, 1776-1976, produced by John Waddington Ltd and the Bristol Pottery for the British American Bicentenary Group, 1970.
“The Great Indoors” playing cards published by DesignWorks Ink, Nashville, USA, 2021.
Kings Wild Tigers is Jackson Robinson’s 27th successful playing card Kickstarter campaign. A luxury collectable deck inspired by vintage matchboxes.
Limited edition luxury playing cards by Billionaire Boys Club and Theory 11.
Screenprint designs on an ever-topical subject, designed and made by Sallie Chinkes, 1979.
Publicity pack for the Harley and Helmsley Hotels, U.S.A., c.1986.
The Encarded First Edition is a limited edition of 2,500 designed by Paul Carpenter and manufactured by the Expert Playing Card Company.
Cards slanted to the right, issued to mark George W. Bush’s second term of office.
Playing cards inspired by mysterious symbolism of secret societies as well as a tribute to the National Playing Card Co.
Monarchs luxury playing cards by Theory11, featured in the film Now You See Me.
Luxury playing cards produced by Theory11 in collaboration with The Nomad Hotel in New York City.
Rules and regulations that guided prison life in America’s most notorious prison.
Marvel’s Avengers: The Infinity Saga Premium Playing Cards produced by Theory11 and designed by Mattson Creative, 2021.
A recreated of the original 1876, No. 18, Triplicate deck by A. Dougherty by Michael Scott in 2014.
Triangle Playing Cards by Michael Scott.
Two Notched Construction Card Sets by Shackman & Co, N.Y. 1970s.
IBM Linux One playing cards, c.2018.
Spyscape espionage, surveillance and cryptography themed playing cards, 2018.
Lion Coffee Mother Goose card game, late 19th C.
Fortune Telling cards by Whitman Publishing Co., 1940.
‘Vargas Girls’ paintings by Alberto Vargas in a deck of cards published by Creative Playing Card Co Missouri.
Anma US Armed Forces, 1942.
The Curator Deck with designs by Emmanuel José with suit symbols cleverly transformed into artistic designs.
Sherlock Holmes deck with caricatures by Jeff Decker published by Gemaco Playing Card Co. 1989
Warren Paper Products Co., Lafayette, Indiana, publishers of Built-Rite toys, games and puzzles.
Christmas Playing Cards published by Novelty Playing Cards, Syracuse, New York, 1986.
Hamm’s Beer promotion deck with bear cartoons by Frank M. Antoncich 1968.
“Victory" cards celebrating U.S. participation in the Allied victory, c.1945.
The Maya Deck produced by Stancraft for Hoyle, 1976.
Caleb Bartlett patriotic deck (reproduction), around 1835-40.
Snap card game illustrated with animals, by Whitman Publishing Co., 1951.
Roundup card game by Whitman Publishing, 1951.
Old Maid card game by Whitman Publishing Co., 1951.
Crazy Eights by Whitman Publishing Co., 1951.
Animal Rummy by Whitman Publishing Co., 1951.
Authors quartet game published by Whitman Publishing Co., 1951.
Whitman 8 Card Games boxed set, 1951.
Paddington card game published in UK by Whitman.
Avilude or Game of Birds published by West & Lee, Worcester, Mass, c.1880.