Superior Condition, Complete Deck of Original Civil War, Patriotic Motif Playing Cards


Superior Condition, Complete Deck of Original Civil War, Patriotic Motif Playing Cards – This rare, complete deck of Civil War cards, utilizing patriotic symbols instead of the traditional French suits, was manufactured by the American Card Company, in 1862. Printed on the Eagle, Ace is the following:

“American Card Company” (in large bold print); beneath, in an arc, below the American eagle is printed, in fine print: “ENTERED ACCORDING TO ACT OF CONGRESS, IN THE YEAR 1862, BY BENJ. W. HITCHCOCK, IN THE CLERKS OFFICE OF THE DISTRICT COURT OF THE UNITED STATES, FOR THE SOUTHERN DISTRICT OF NEW YORK.”; beneath this printing, in a riband at the bottom of the card, is printed: “14 Chambers St & 165 Williams St New York.”

Hitchcock’s publishing business created sheet music, books, musical instruments, printing presses and type, as well as these playing cards. Printed on the boxes that once housed these cards is the following, which reveals the patriotic fervor that enveloped the North, at the onset of the Civil War:

“THE AMERICAN CARD CO. Confident that the introduction of NATIONAL EMBLEMS in place of Foreign, in PLAYING CARDS, will be hailed with delight by the American People, take pleasure in presenting the UNION PLAYING CARDS. As the first and only Genuine American Cards ever produced, in the fullest confidence that the time is not far distant when they will be the leading Card in American market….

The Union Cards are calculated to play all the Games for which the old style of Playing Cards are used. The suits are EAGLES, SHIELDS, STARS, and FLAGS, GODDESS OF LIBERTY in place of Queen, COLONEL for King, MAJOR for Jack. In playing with these Cards, they are to be called by the names the emblems represent, and as the Emblems are as familiar as household words, everywhere among the American people, they can be used as readily the first occasion as Cards bearing Foreign emblems.”

According to Dawson & Dawson’s Hochman Encyclopedia of American Playing Cards, Hitchcock’s company produced two packs of these Union or Patriotic themed playing cards, one type (these presented here), in 1862, as well as a more rare iteration, in 1863.

This deck is complete, with all 52 cards present; the cards are in superior condition, retaining vivid color and strong cardstock.