Pair “Double Pinochle” Game Counters, Max Hofheimer Manufacturer and Selling Agent, c.1890

A pair of “Double Pinochle” game counters manufactured and sold by Max Hofheimer of Philadelphia c.1890, advertised on the back labels as “The New Playing Card Game Counter” for “Single and Double Pinochle, Euchre, Whist, Casino and Kindred Games” and further advertised as “Neat, Handy, Ornamental and Cheap.” I have dated them c.1890, since the advertising mentions Casino (popular in the U.S. in the late 19th century) and Whist (largely superseded by bridge early in the 20th century). I would also note that I have found an 1894 reference on the internet to a Max Hofheimer of Philadelphia, but it is in The Insurance Year Book where he is identified as a General Agent of American Credit Insurance Company; I have no idea if he is the same person.

Each counter has 4 rows of 5 wooden “buttons” that slide in thin metal grooves – one row each for 10, 40, 100, and 150 points – set in a simple wood frame painted white. As noted, on the back of each is a simple paper label advertising the product and containing “directions” for its use – pretty obvious, when you think about it. The frame of each measures approximately 6⅜” by 4⅜”.

There is considerable foxing/soiling to the white frames. But for that, it would be possible to say that the condition of these counters is very good. All of the buttons are present and slide reasonably well, and the back labels are complete and in surprisingly good condition. I should add that the labels are accurate when they describe the counters as “cheap.” Ironically, this makes the condition of them better than one has a right to expect 120 years or so later. I bought these a couple of years ago. I had not seen them before and have not seen them since. I assume that they are rare, and may be of interest to collectors of antique game counters.

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Item ID: T00002010

$35 USD

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