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1:39pm on Friday, 10th July, 2020:

Playing Cards


Back in the 1980s, I bought a book on bargain antiques (indeed, Bargain Antiques was its name). This wasn't because I was thinking of collecting antiques, or looking to find out how much something I had was worth. No, it was because I could use it as a sourcebook for weird historical things that people think are valuable, so I could put some of them into MUD as treasure.

It occurred to me recently that it might have an entry on playing cards, so I checked. It does.

Hmm. So for price context, this 250-page paperback cost £4.95 in 1987. Even so, £50 for a pack from the early 1700s was indeed a bargain compared to what they cost nowadays. That said, I've just looked on eBay and the price of packs showing what are euphamistically called "glamour" shots from the 1950s remains pretty well unchanged. (Aside: I do actually have two of these, which were part of a mixed lot of cards I bought a few years ago. I didn't know any such packs were were included, and was somewhat embarrassed to discover they were when I opened the parcel on the kitchen table as my father-in-law looked on).

The last line of this article, which says there should be 52 cards plus two jokers, only applies from the 1860s onwards (and not always even then). The discussion of the condition of the cards is fine (although it's not just corners that are creased or worn), but some mention of the possibility that some inconsiderate Victorian might have taken a pen to the cards would also be in order. Also, whether or not they have a box plays a part: early packs didn't come in boxes, but anything 20th Century or later should have one.

I didn't ever put any playing cards in MUD.

I don't know what 1930s chocolate box type girls are.

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