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Published March 29, 2023 Updated March 29, 2023

W.C. Fields Commemorative playing cards

W.C. Fields Commemorative playing cards, USA, 1972

1972 USA The Gamekeepers J.L. Brown Commemorative Humour Add to Collection

This pack was published in 1972 by The Gamekeepers, Minneapolis and designed by J.L. Brown. While the pip cards are standard, the aces and court cards show a grainy black-and-white photo of the American comedian W.C. Fields (1880-1946) below which is one of the famous quips and comic lines from his films or comedy routines. In addition to the two jokers there is a leaflet describing “16 proven ways to cheat at cards”.

W.C. Fields Commemorative playing cards, USA, 1972 W.C. Fields Commemorative playing cards, USA, 1972 W.C. Fields Commemorative playing cards, USA, 1972

Above: W.C. Fields Commemorative playing cards, USA, 1972.

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By Peter Burnett

Member since July 27, 2022

I graduated in Russian and East European Studies from Birmingham University in 1969. It was as an undergraduate in Moscow in 1968 that I stumbled upon my first 3 packs of “unusual” playing cards which fired my curiosity and thence my life-long interest. I began researching and collecting cards in the early 1970s, since when I’ve acquired over 3,330 packs of non-standard cards, mainly from North America, UK and Western Europe, and of course from Russia and the former communist countries.

Russian Playing Cards

Following my retirement from the Bodleian Library in Dec. 2007 I took up a new role as Head of Library Development at the International Network for the Availability of Scientific Publications (INASP) to support library development in low-income countries. This work necessitated regular training visits to many sub-Saharan African countries and also further afield, to Vietnam, Nepal and Bangladesh – all of which provided rich opportunities to further expand my playing card collection.

Since 2019 I’ve been working part-time in the Bodleian Library where I’ve been cataloguing the bequest of the late Donald Welsh, founder of the English Playing Card Society.


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