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Ye Witches

Ye Witches Fortune Telling Cards published by the United States Playing Card Co., 1896. 52 cards + Joker + extra card in box.

Ye Witches’ No.62 Fortune Cards

This late nineteenth century fortune-telling deck has illustrated pip cards suggesting their divinatory meanings. In some instances the pips are actually part of the design, which makes “Ye Witches” a partial Transformation Fortune-Telling deck. Some of the period dresses in the illustrations are interesting. An accompanying booklet contains the rules for interpreting the cards and how to use the deck in more detail. The court cards are standard except that their hair is filled in black. The Joker has an image of a horseshoe, rabbit's foot, three four leaf clovers and a broken wishbone.

Ye Witches Fortune Telling Cards published by the United States Playing Card Co., 1896 Ye Witches Fortune Telling Cards published by the United States Playing Card Co., 1896

Above: Ye Witches Fortune Telling Cards published by the United States Playing Card Co., 1896. 52 cards + Joker + extra card in box. Available with plain or gold edges and a variety of different back colours. The back shows a coven of witches with a steaming cauldron, surrounded by interlacing dragons and bats. The divinatory interpretations are not printed on the cards, so it was necessary to memorise them, or to improvise. The illustrations are suggestive enough so as to give a hint as to the meaning. Images from the collection of Rod Starling.

REFERENCES

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


Ye Witches’ Fortune Cards Review by Matt Probert.

Ye witches Fortune Cards No 62x, 2019 edition

Ye Witches Fortune Cards are a reproduction custom pack for collectors and magicians, based on the original 1896 edition of the deck by the US Playing Card Company.

Produced by card magician Will Roya (www.playingcarddecks.com), illustrated by Azured Ox and manufactured by USPCC in two colours: red and green with different back designs to each in a limited edition of 2000 packs of each colour.

Ye witches Fortune Cards No 62x, 2019 edition

Above: each pack is supplied in a colour coordinated box - either red or green, corresponding to the colour of the backs of the cards inside, and printed with gold ink and sealed with an imitation tax stamp (of a design used between 1894 and 1896) and wrapped in cellophane.

Like the 19th century originals, the reproduction pack is cut to poker width, without corner indices and faithful reproductions of the original semi-transformation images including the two jokers and in addition two gaff cards: a blank face card and a double-back card to further expand the scope for use by card magicians. The green pack has the witch flying a broomstick back design while the red back pack depicts the witches coven scene.

Ye witches Fortune Cards No 62x, 2019 edition

Packs are sold either as a pair comprising one pack of each colour; individually or as an uncut sheet. The reproduction packs do not include the fortune telling instructions included with the original pack, but can be downloaded as a free eight-page PDF from the publisher's web site at: playingcarddecks.com/products/ye-witches-fortune-cards-uspcc

NOTE: "Ye" is pronounced "the". The 'y' in 'ye' is not the modern letter 'y' found in 'you', but a mis-translation of the old runic symbol equivalent to the modern letter pair 'th' found in words such as 'the'.

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By Simon Wintle

Member since February 01, 1996

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Curator and editor of the World of Playing Cards since 1996. He is a former committee member of the IPCS and was graphics editor of The Playing-Card journal for many years. He has lived at various times in Chile, England and Wales and is currently living in Extremadura, Spain. Simon's first limited edition pack of playing cards was a replica of a seventeenth century traditional English pack, which he produced from woodblocks and stencils.


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