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8:56pm on Thursday, 17th September, 2015:

Hunt and Sons


Having just mentioned collections, look what I managed to snag on eBay:

This is an English set of cards manufactured by Hunt & Sons. Joseph Hunt began manufacturing playing cards in 1790. In 1801 he set up as Gibson & Hunt with Matthew Gibson, who was the son of another card manufacturer, Charles Gibson (he'd taken over Blanchard in 1769). Hunt's own son (whose name I don't know) joined Gibson & Hunt around 1803, which seems to have put some pressure on the company as they parted their ways with Gibson and became Hunt & Son in 1804. In 1821, another Hunt son joined the company, and it became Hunt & Sons, as shown on the "Old Frizzle" Ace of Spades. Hunt & Sons remained in business until 1840 when they were succeeded by Bancks Brothers.

So, this pack of cards is Hunt & Sons, meaning it was manufactured between 1821 and 1840. The Old Frizzle ace didn't come in until 1828, but the date of this pack can be narrowed-down further. This is because it's actually a quite important deck. Over the years, cards had been manufactured using wood block printings, and errors had crept into the designs. Hunt & Sons was the first manufacturer to modernise the designs of court cards by a complete redrawing, around 1830. The cards were then printed mechanically using stereotype printing (that is, the kind of printing from which the word "stereotype" came; I don't mean it was stereotypical of cards to be printed). Anyway, the deck of cards I have is the redrawn version, meaning it's historically significant and dates from 1830-1840.

I was plrased that I managed to win this deck, as I've been after it for a while. Any deck with single-ended courts would usually cost at least £75 but I got this for much less than that. The reason, sadly, is that it's incomplete: it's missing the 4D, 10C, JC. I don't mind the 4D and 10C so much, but being short a court card hurts a little.

Still, if buying an incomplete deck is the only way I can afford to have one of these, I'll take that.

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