These are cards are copper engraved .1765 was the year that the taxing authorities attempted to introduce a standard Ace of Spades to show the tax paid. These were printed by the revenue and released to the individual makers on payment of the required duty; it is therefore amazing that this Ace should be so different to all the other makers.
The unusualness of this pack also extended to the pips and the court cards. So this was the first non-standard design on a standard pack of playing cards of the United Kingdom.
Half length courts within ovals frames, representing kings and queens with court body-guards as Jacks.
The suit signs are ‘red chalice’, with a heart in the chalice, a ‘black pike head’, an ‘orange topaz’, cut in a diamond shape and a green clover leaf.
The court cards correspond to England, France, Spain and Portugal. The Aces of chalices, topazes, and clover are in oval cartouches decorated with a mitre, crozier and croos, a winged hat, caduseus and trident, a wreath and farm tools.
Rowley and Co operated at No.6 in the Old Bailey, London.
Duty Ace George III Number 11.
The pack is complete 52/52 with plain backs. The condition is worn plus the occasional surface mark.They have been heavily played with but there are no tares or bends.
This is a very scarce 18th Century Pack and the price reflects the overall condition.
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Three sets are known by this maker – this is the only complete one and has uniform, non-mixed, courts.
The Duty Ace of Spades tells us it was registered between 1789 and 1801. This conflicts with John Berry’s detailed listings of the Stamping Office records but this is certainly no exception – records were lost and misplaced.
Berry1 does list a Groser Duty Ace for the period 1801-1828 with duty of One Shilling and Six Pence[ six pence added three times ] but this could have just been a notation error by Berry given the size of his undertaking.
So this George III packs of playing cards shows duty on the Ace of Spades of One Shilling[ six pence added twice ] making the total duty for the pack as Two Shillings [ two further sixpences were applied to the Jew and the Wrapper ] and was most probably issued c1790-95.
Groser is cited as operating from 14 Prince’s Street, Cavendish Square at the time of this packs production.
The acknowledged expert of the English Standard Pattern, Dr Ken Lodge2, has identified the courts as being made by Gibson, operating from 58 Mortimer Street, Cavendish Square during this period.
Christopher Groser and Charles Gibson were both Liverymen of the Worshipful Company of Makers of Playing Cards and had both held the esteemed position of Master of that Company. Groser in 1784 and Gibson in 1773.
Given their premises close physical proximity to each other, see map, and their involvement, at a senior level, in the Worshipful Company is not only reasonable to assume that they knew each other well but one could speculate that Gibson produced the basic pack, 51 cards, to go with Groser’s Duty Ace of Spades for a fee.
It is quite probably that Groser was involved in the production of other wares, maybe of a stationary type, and this using of Gibson for outsourcing would make sense all ways round presuming his sales were of a low volume supported by number of instances of his Duty Ace known
I can only presume that the Stamping Officer would visit Groser’s premises to duty the final product – it making no difference to the stamping office who actually made the 51 cards as long at the duty was paid.
The cards are in very good condition and represent a high standard of workmanship with an unprinted reverse.
1 Taxation on Playing-Cards in England from 1711-1960 – John Berry2 The British playing card industry 1600-200: the makers and their products. Ken Lodge
This interesting item came to light at a recent auction of Italian Printed Sheets and Cards.
To all extant and purposes is an English Duty Ace of the 1765 to 1776 period.
Aces were printed by the Stamp Office, using intaglio plates, then these sheets were returned to the Playing Card Maker for pasting onto the backing board.
So what can we say about this Ace.
Firstly, no such maker is recorded by the Worshipful Company of Makers of Playing Cards despite the fact that one website has a pack of the correct period with this Duty Ace with the addition of the words GENOA.
Examining the Ace shows that the regnal number III is partly obliterated by a decoration. That decoration should be in a leaf format as it should be on the right hand side of the garter.
The symbol, under the DIEU ET MON DROIT, looks nothing like it should.
It was at that point that the engraver would denote any re-cuts.
So this is a fake, maybe the Italians, if indeed they were the forgers, were trying to cache in on the this lucrative trade that was seated in Belgium.
The paper is adjudged to be early 19th century.
So it is offered as a Fake but an interesting one.
Made in Belgium, quite possibly in Brussels, the sole purpose to avoid British Tax which was excessively high.
Whilst the Ace is very obviously a fake being cut from a woodblock as opposed to a genuine British Duty Ace being from an engraved plate, the court cards are very typical of the period.
This sheet , measuring 15.25 inches by 13.5 inches, has the benefit of portraying all the courts, the ‘Duty Ace’, the Two of Spades and the Nine of Spades.
The condition of the sheet is typical of it’s type – not being square cut.POST IS FREE ON THIS ITEM
We know of only two other packs from this maker, both EXPORTATION Aces, and count this as one of the rarest 18th/19th Century English Playing Card Makers – this is Ace number 18 of 20.
Henry French operated from 11 Broad St, Bloomsbury from 1794 to 1805.
He was Warden of the Worshipful Company of Makers of Playing Cards in 1800/1801 and became Master in 1802.
His court cards bear a similarity to those of Brotherton and T Wheeler. This is especially true with the Queen of Hearts which has the clasped Tulip un-opened compared to the vast majority of his piers where the tulip [?] is fully opened.
The cards are in excellent condition. The Jack of Diamonds exhibits bottom margin slippage [ a printing anomaly ] and the Queen of Spades has a very slight colour run, top left of card not affecting the design.
The cards have a plain back.
Insured Postage is free on this item.
A complete deck [ 52/52] of George III English Playing Cards by an Unknown maker
No tax levied on this item so Ace of Spades is infact a Black Spade !!
The Court cards are full length and the cards carry no indices. The backs of the cards are Pink Patterned and measure 39mm X 57mm
The cards are in lightly played with condition – rated 7/10
REF: CSA2181 _053
No tax levied on this item so plain Ace of Spades – stamped SUPERFINE
The Court cards are full length and the cards carry no indices. The backs of the cards are plain and measure 35mm X 58mm
The cards are in near Mint Condition 9+/10
A complete deck [ 52/52 ] of George III English Playing Cards by Gibson Hunt & Son
The Duty Ace of Spades carries duty of Six Pence – added three times and is numbered No: 5
The Court cards are full length and the cards carry no indices. The court cards are famed within the card and have large borders – the inner frame measuring 32mm X 55mm
The backs of the cards are plain and measure 58mm X 87mm – this is the smaller sized cards known as Piquet sized Playing Cards.
The cards are in Lightly played with – no tares or bent corners rated 7/10
A complete pack of George III playing cards by cardmaker HALL.
Duty is One Shilling and Sixpence [ sixpence added three times ] and this is from plate No 11 [ third re-cut for those who are interested ].
Courts are single figured and stencil coloured.
The cards are in very good condition rated 8/10
A complete deck [ 52/52 ] of George III English Playing Cards by Hunt & Sons
The Duty Ace of Spades carries duty of One Shilling and Six Pence and is numbered No: 18
The Court cards are full length and the cards carry no indices. The backs of the cards are plain and measure 64mm X 94mm
A complete set of Playing Cards 52/52 with Plain Backs and full standing courts.
The Ace of Spades being engraved, for the maker by the Stamping Office, the other 51 cards being woodblock printed and hand stencilled coloured.
The cards are in very good condition with no bends tears and we would rate them 7/8 out of 10, with 10 being Mint condition.
The Duty Ace of Spades carries duty of One Shilling and Six Pence and is numbered No: 73
The Court cards are full length and the cards carry no indices. The backs of the cards are plain and measure 64mm X 93mm
The cards are in Near Mint Condition 9/10
Complete pack of these George III Playing Cards by the maker I HARDY.
These cards were made for exportation, the colonies, USA, Europe or the Far East, and thuis bear no duty.
They are Ace number 37 [ Recut 1 ] which dates them 1817-1820
Cards are in very good condition.
A complete deck [ 52/52 ] of George III English Playing Cards by Name
The Duty Ace of Spades carries duty of One Shilling and Six Pence and is numbered No: 66
The Court cards are full length and the cards carry no indices. The backs of the cards are plain and measure 63mm X 93mm
The cards are in Excellent Condition [ near Mint ] 9/10
They were believed to have been made in Ceylon and are on either palm leaf or banana leaf. They are mounted and housed in two books and were previously part of a collection by Captain H. E. Rimington Wilson of Broomhead Hall.
His collection was sold in 1971 and although it only contained about 100 items of playing cards Sylvia Mann was totally impressed with the quality of the collection.
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