Excellent deck of Congress 606 playing cards, made by United States Playing Card Co., at Russell & Morgan Factories, c.1899. The Ace of Spades used in this deck is said by Dawson/Hochman to be "[t]he earliest USPC, Russell & Morgan Factories Ace of Spades." The backs depict a mill and water wheel, in “Delft” blue colors. There was a 17th century school of Dutch painting known as the Delft School, with which Vermeer is associated, but the colors of the paintings by that school were not “Delft” blue like the pottery now associated with the region, and I do not know if the backs of these cards are derived from a Dutch painting.
The deck has 52 cards; it is missing its Joker. Some of these early Congress decks had a standard Joker, and some had a special Joker matching the backs. Obviously, it cannot be determined which Joker this deck had. The cards are wide, measuring 88mm x 63mm, with gold gilt. There is no box.
The cards are in very good lightly used condition, with notable edge wear and gilt loss, but otherwise without issues.
Reference: Dawson, The Hochman Encyclopedia of American Playing Cards (2000) p.87, US6c.
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