Beautiful, mint set of “Past-L-Eze” cards made c.1935, titled “The Old Curiosity Shop” after the Dickens novel of the same name, and featuring the beautiful designs and lovely pastel colors unique to these cards. The box contained a full deck of cards in the original wrapper, and I removed them from the wrapper to inspect and photograph them for this listing. The wrapper had a tax stamp that was canceled by E.E. Fairchild Co., but there is no mention of Fairchild on the box or on the cards. The wrapper also had a seal with the initials “fcp,” and the box mentions “Fan C Pack Co., Inc.” I assume that the cards were made by Fairchild and published by Fan C Pack, but this may not be correct.
In addition to the full deck removed from its wrapper, the box had two cards from the twin of this deck, namely, the Joker and an insert card that describes “Past-L-Eze” cards:
“Past-l-eze is our exclusive brand name applied to playing cards. Instead of glaring white, you are faced with a soft, pleasing pastel color, green or cream. Easy and non-glaring on your eyes.
“And on Past-l-eze playing cards Kings, and Queens, and Jacks are no longer stodgy and conventional but pleasingly reflect suspicion, flirtation and worry. (Design patents applied for)
“The designs on the back vary. This pack pictures a scene from the immortal Dickens – The Old Curiosity Shop. This is our exclusive design. The quaint scene of the old colorful shop and its environment is pleasingly reminiscent of Dickens’ delightful story.”
The full deck has 52 cards, plus a Joker. It does not have (never had) the insert card quoted above, and it appears that the double deck had only one such card. The cards are bridge size, measuring 89mm x 58mm, with gold gilt around. They come in the original custom double box. Again, one of the decks was in its wrapper, while all that remains of the other deck are two cards as noted.
The cards are mint, including the two cards from the companion deck. The box is in good condition – structurally sound, but with wear and abrasions and some soiling and foxing.
Reference: Dawson, The Hochman Encyclopedia of American Playing Cards, p.160, MSN 62; Keller, The Cary Collection of Playing Cards, USA 222-225.
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