Mint double deck of cards made c.1929 by Western Printing & Lithographing Co. (“WPL”), with very beautiful backs depicting ships that are suggestive of the ships used by Columbus in his voyages to the New World. I think it is accurate to describe the style of the artwork as “art deco,” although that is a term that is overused. The cards are part of a bridge set, and the “art deco” term is also suggested and reinforced by the image on the Auction Bridge score pad that accompanies the cards. The original glassine wrappers are still present, and each shows cancellation by WPL in 1929. The relationship between WPL and Western Playing Card Co. has always been a bit of a mystery to me, and decks produced by both entities use the same Ace of Spades. They are commonly shown and discussed together as if Western was a single company, and, whatever their technical relationship, this is a useful historical blurring.

Each deck has 52 suited cards, plus a standard Western Joker, plus an auction bridge scoring card. The cards are bridge size, measuring 88mm x 57mm. They are housed in a “Bridge” case, which has an auction bridge score pad inside. The case and score pad appear to be original to the cards.

The cards are mint, although one of the auction bridge scoring cards has a couple of very small bits from its glassine wrapper “stuck” to it. The cards are accompanied by remnants of their original glassine wrappers. The score pad in the case is in very good to excellent condition; it has not been used, but has separated at the top so that the “binding” of the top cover of the pad is separated from the sheets. The case itself is in fair condition, with the wear visible in the pictures.

Reference: Dawson, The Hochman Encyclopedia of American Playing Cards, p.161, MSN74

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Two For His Heels

Double Deck Western Playing Cards, Bridge Set w/ Score Pad, Art Deco Ship Designs (backs), c.1929


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