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'45 Texan Stripper/Wizard's deck

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'45 Texan Stripper/Wizard's deck
« on: June 22, 2017, 07:16:06 AM »
 

EndersGame

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Here's something that was recently given to me - I'm curious what year or era it might be from.

Inside it has a paper that that says "Directions for Using The Wizard's Pack of Cards", which has descriptions of 15 effects that can be performed with the deck.  And yes, the cards are tapered, so it is definitely a Stripper deck!  Love those Palmetto card-backs!

Front of the tuck box: '45 Texan Playing Cards, The U.S. Playing Card Co, Cincinnati USA, Russell & Morgan Factories
Back of the tuck box: Texan Playing Cards, Palmetto Back

Below are some photos of what it looks like.








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Re: '45 Texan Stripper/Wizard's deck
« Reply #1 on: June 24, 2017, 01:49:32 AM »
 

EndersGame

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Someone suggested to me privately to take a closer look at the stamp collectors label used to hold the box together, which I've done - it turns out that this stamp is from 1926 - more on that below.

I did contact USPCC prior to posting all of this, but I have the impression they only check the decks they produce currently.  Here's what they wrote:

"We checked our current playing cards product list and we were unable to locate these cards.  USPC does not maintain a library or archives of discontinued cards. There are a number of collector's books available to purchase on the Internet or visit your local bookstore or library for available titles. Mrs. Robinson's Playing Card Collector's Handbook published in 1955 offers a timeline of early Bicycle playing cards. www.jimknapp.com/Cards/Bicycle.htm. If you are unable to locate them there, a search on the Internet would be the best place to look for your desired card deck."

So that doesn't get me much further, because it's quite obvious that this isn't a current deck.  As for Jim Knapp's website, some Texan Palmetto's are listed on his page with Non-Bicycle cards here: http://www.jimknapp.com/Cards/Non-Bicycle.htm
It's item #26 on that page, but the cards he shows are ones produced in Ontario Canada, and were a much more recent version of this deck.  These more recent versions were published in the 1990s/2000s.  In 1998 Jeff Busby even wrote a book about them entitled "Secret of the Palmettos" (available here) that was about edge-marking, which relates to the one-way design of the backs.  But these decks had English/French on the cover (as you can see in pictures 1, 2, 3, and 4), and they mention Ontario on the Ace of Spades; clearly different from the much older 45 Texan deck with Palmetto backs that I have.



However, there's a few more parts to the puzzle about this deck, some of which add more mystery, and others of which start clearing things up.

1. First of all the tuck box flap has an unusual design and shape - is this unique to a particular era?



2. Here's another interesting thing: on the reverse side of this flap, in pencil, there's some faint writing in pencil. 



It's hard to make out, but I recognized the second word: DEDIT.  And because I'm an amateur magician, that rang a bell.  Specifically this bell.  "MUTUS NOMEN DEDIT COCIS" is a well known mnemonic used for a particular card trick effect (which is based on a principle first described in 1769 by Gilles-Edme Guyot). 

Looking more closely, I realized that the pencil writing used a different series of words than what is normally used today: "CICOS DEDIT TUMUS NEMON".  That's a variation used in "The Gaming Table: Its Votaries and Victims" by Andrew Steinmetz, first published in 1870 (example page here).  I wonder when the MUTUS NOMEN DEDIT COCIS list was popularized?  Evidently the person who wrote CICOS DEDIT TUMUS NEMON on the box flap was either unfamiliar with the more common words used, or learned them instead from Steinmetz' book, or from another source. 

But one thing we can conclude from this is: at one point a person who owned this deck was using it for card magic.  Which isn't surprising, given that it is a stripper deck.

3. But there's more.  On both sides of the tuck box, a stamp has been used to keep it together.



And when you put it together, here's what that stamp looks like:



My son did a bit more research about the Junior Philatelic Society (JPS) in London, and discovered that this stamp was issued in 1926.  If it is from that era, that would date the deck around the late 1920s.  It's not definitive evidence, but you'd imagine that you wouldn't get a stamp like this and only use it to fix a deck box 20 or more years later.  This would have to narrow down the date to some time close to 1930, which is around 90 years ago.

4. There's one final piece of evidence I found in my online research.  On a webpage here about the history of the USPCC, I found the following: "USPC expanded internationally in the 1910s, establishing the International Playing Card Company in 1914, initially for product distribution to Canada. Successful sales in that country led the company to establish a manufacturing facility in Windsor, Ontario, in 1928. Among the unique brands marketed to Canadian customers was Texan 45, a style popular in Quebec since its introduction in the 1930s."  I've not been able to confirm this, but it does give a date that is around the same era from the Junior Philatelic Society stamp. 

I'd love to be able to verify that statement, and find out when the Texan 45 was originally produced, for how long, and whether it was officially produced as a stripper deck for magicians or whether that was a custom alteration to the deck by a magician (and just put instructions for it in the box).  Another thing I'm still left wondering is this: does the "8-20" that is under the Ace of Spades in tiny print give any definitive way of identifying this deck?


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Re: '45 Texan Stripper/Wizard's deck
« Reply #2 on: June 24, 2017, 11:06:32 AM »
 

skinny

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I know my eBay links won't last forever, but here are a couple to check out.

http://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/371983050123
http://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/191866780047

These are both Little Duke decks from USPCC. (Coincidentally, Little Dukes were very, very popular in the UK.)

Notice on the first listing, the ace shows 4-11. Notice the joker has a P code. 4-11 is 1911 and P is 1911.
Notice on the second listing, the ace shows 10-9. Notice the 1909 tax stamp on the box.

I have found that these Dash Codes are consistent. Every once in a while, the joker will be one digit away. Sometimes, the tax stamp will be a year late. Perhaps the joker plate didn't get updated as the Ace did. In the other case, some decks sell obviously after they are made. Some Bicycle decks show the same dash code without a typical letter start. Even those have been consistent. I can back this observation up from my own collection a number of times.

I would bet my Little Duke collection that you have a Texan deck manufactured in 1920.

The number before the dash could very well be the month. I'll check for numbers greater than 12 later today maybe.

EDIT: Hochman USPCC: Having only looked quickly from US1 to US32, there are at least 12 dash codes. All are consistent with release years and none of them have a leading indicator above 12. Some have a space instead of a dash.
« Last Edit: June 24, 2017, 12:00:04 PM by skinny »
 

Re: '45 Texan Stripper/Wizard's deck
« Reply #3 on: June 24, 2017, 11:30:33 AM »
 

skinny

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Some postscript:

Your box reads Russell & Morgan Factories. That's the first half of the 1920s or earlier.
Your tuck flap is the same shape as my 1920s R&M Bicycle Safety Back tuck. I don't know when the longer flaps shortened, though.
 

Re: '45 Texan Stripper/Wizard's deck
« Reply #4 on: June 25, 2017, 09:16:01 AM »
 

EndersGame

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That's great information, thanks so much for sharing! 

Did you find out whether the number before the dash ever gets over 12?  If it doesn't refer to the month, another possibility is that it refers to the week in the year.

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Re: '45 Texan Stripper/Wizard's deck
« Reply #5 on: June 25, 2017, 12:25:55 PM »
 

skinny

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I have found over 25 examples of dash codes now. All of them have first numbers that are 12 or less.

Three of them have a date code that doesn't match the dash code from the joker, but these are off by only one.
« Last Edit: June 25, 2017, 12:31:16 PM by skinny »
 

Re: '45 Texan Stripper/Wizard's deck
« Reply #6 on: June 25, 2017, 08:30:40 PM »
 

EndersGame

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Thanks so much for the follow-up, I really appreciate you taking the time to look that up and report back!

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