Huxley House “Of Jacks, Queens & Kings,” Gatefold Samplers 18th Century Playing Cards, Walter Huxley and Franz Hess Designs, Christmas and New Year’s Greeting 1948

Unusual item made by Huxley House, a mid-20th century New York publisher, as a Christmas and New Years greeting in 1948. It appears that the item was sent to friends and customers of the publisher. It includes an explanatory “card” which begins with this paragraph:

“Since tidbits and dainties are in season, when Christmas is at hand, the New Year just around the corner, we are emboldened to present to you two samplers of a kind which we have tried to select with care and deliberation from many hundreds of similar ones, so that you too may enjoy and admire them. Gladly would we have completed the decks for your pleasurable enjoyment across the table, had it not been for the ancient and everpresent fraternity of tax collectors, who would not allow it. And it is for this reason that they must remain but graphic tidbits of a kind, samplers and curios for your admiration.”

The “samplers” are four gatefold sets of court cards from 18th century decks of cards, two depicting court cards from an 18th century French deck, and two depicting court cards from an 18th century Spanish deck. Each gatefold has a description of the deck in question, and the explanatory card quoted above also contains a description of the printer’s art, and refers the recipient to D’Allemagne’s gorgeous and famous 2-volume work, “Les Cartes à Jouer” – a reference that seems ironic today, since the few sets of D’Allemagne’s work currently available for purchase would cost on the order of $4,000-$5,000. Each card in the sampler, and each “page” of the greeting card measures 119mm x 75mm, and they are housed in a folding paper case.

The gatefold samplers and greeting card are in excellent condition, “as new” or nearly so. The paper case has some soiling, evident in the pictures.

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Item ID: T00001399

$25 USD

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