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10:09am on Wednesday, 1st May, 2013:

Turned Jack


I mentioned last month that playing cards used to be unturned but that I didn't have any cards that were two-way and unturned. In an effort to remedy this situation, I bought myself a two-way unturned pack. It's a Bezique pack(it's missing the 2-6 in each suit) so it was a lot cheaper than a full 52-card pack would be, but it demonstrates the principle. Bezique actually needs two such packs, but they tend to be sold singly; this one was manufactured by De La Rue, probably around 1860.

So, here are three jacks of hearts:

The left one is the unturned jack from the Bezique pack; the heart symbol is in the top-right corner. The middle one is from the regular pack, which is also by De La rue and dates from the early 1860s; the heart is in the top-left corner, so the card has been "turned". The right jack is just the left one but I've reflected it so you can compare it with the middle jack. There are several noticeable differences in the clothing and the fact that the height of the middle jack is ever-so-slightly shorter, but I suppose the main one people will spot is that the face is slightly less sneering. The same kind of changes appear on the other picture cards, though, including the ones that didn't need to be turned, so it was probably done as part of a general makeover.

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Copyright © 2013 Richard Bartle (richard@mud.co.uk).