The cards were first advertised c1690 and sold until c1750 and produced and sold by John Lenthall, a map and printseller, who was the predominant seller of playing cards in London during the first half of the eighteenth century.
They include the names of astronomical pioneers (Copernicus, Tycho, Ptolemy) as well as occult figures (Cornelius Agrippa, Hermes Trismegistus, Dr Dee and Dr Faustus). This set has a red Garter tax stamp on the ace of spades.
The Kings [ XIII ] are represented by Nimrod, Herod, Holophernesand Pharof.
The Queens [ XII ] are represented by Clytemnastra, Dido, Prosperina and Semiramis
The Jacks [ XI ] are represented by Cupid, Mahomett, Wat Tyler and Hewfon [ Hewson ] the regicide and possible card maker ?
Each suit was numbered I to XIII. Odd numbered cards had a sign of the zodiac on them; even numbered cards contained a list of thirteen numbered statements. The Kings had a series of questions one could ask. The court cards were given the names of famous people from myth and legend. According to the directions, “When any person is desirous to try their fortune, let them go to one of the four kings and choose what question they please.” This is followed by an elaborate procedure for determining the answer. The explanation ends, “The stars foretell, they love you well.”
Complete deck 52/52 plus two instruction card ‘The Use of the Cards’, closing with ‘Sold by Iohn Lenthall Stationer at the Talbot against St. Dunstans Church Fleetstreet London.’
The cards are in very good condition, there is some card with paper shrinkage, which does not affect the card.
There is minor foxing here and there – all cards are scanned in high resolution so you can judge the condition for yourself.
The Jack of Spades [ XI ] – Wat Tyler, has two wormholes holes and the King of Clubs [ XIII ] Pharoh has 12 wormholes neither card has been affected in the subject of the card by the traces of a long lost friend – all cards have been scanned.
Most probably the second English set of playing cards issued specifically for the purpose of fortune telling, the first being those published by Newman c1690 later published by John Lenthall – his pack number XVIII.
The wording on each card conforms to that found in the work on the oldest cartomancy meanings in English by “Dr. Flamstead’s and Mr. Patridge’s New Fortune-Book containing . . . Their new-invented method of knowing one’s fortune by a pack of cards” published c1729 [ Our thanks to Ross Caldwell for pointing us to this link – https://goo.gl/JzSWR2 ]
We think that these cards were published by S Hooper a Book and Print Publisher of various London addresses during the period 1766 to 1792, Strand, Ludgate Hill, Arundal Street, Dukes Court and Holborn. He is know also for publishing his Conversation Cards.
Lots of ‘thinks’ and ‘most probablys in his write up as this pack is not referenced anywhere to our knowledge.
The pack is missing the 9 of Hearts, the Nine of Diamonds and the Jack of Hearts, one direction card and one Wheel of Fortune Card, Red.
The Court cards are of the early style – Jacks have Fleur de Lils between their feet – Black Jacks feathers in their hats – King of Clubs holds Cross of Lorraine – Diamonds and Hearts are red stenciled cards (including court cards) but excluding borders and legend.
The lack of Aces is explained by the Direction Card [ Direction The First ] – “The conjurer being obliged to multiply the 12 figns of the Zodiac by the four feasons of the year could only employ 48 cards, was therefore commanded by the oracle of Delphos to exclude the 4 aces” – though the referenced source above does have Rhyming Cutlets for the four Aces.
The cards are in good condition with some paper shrinkage ripples. The Black Wheel of Fortune card does have many pin holes in it – as it should – as it is used to select the cards which then reveal your fortune.
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Hand made playing cards consisting of 22 cards [ 0 to XXI ] plus title card showing this to be pack number 26 of a limited edition of 30.
Each card is highly decorative and includes the following –
The Fool, The Magician, High Priestess, The Empress, The Emperor, The Pope, The Lovers, The Chariot, Justice, The Hermit, The Wheel of Fortune, Strength, The Hanged Man, Death, Temperance, The Devil, The Tower,The Star, The Moon, The Sun, Judgement and The World.
There is also a concertina hand written booklet [ duplicated ] by Elaine describing each card.
Cards measure 6cm by 12.7cm and are housed in a hand made box.
Backs are plain.
[ Graphic show No: 2 of 30 this is in fact No:26 of 30 ]