Extraordinary and complete set of the stunning and quite rare “Green Spade Tarok” cards, apparently published by Publicity Art Studios, but copyrighted to August Petryl in 1934. I have dated the set c.1934, the same as the stated copyright date, and 1934 is also the midpoint of the date range of the tax stamp on the box. The cards are attributed to August Petryl by Dawson/Hochman in the Encyclopedia, and Petryl is mentioned along with Publicity in the description of these cards in the catalogue of the Cary Collection. It should be noted that Keller dates the “Green Spade Tarok” set in the Cary Collection c.1937, based upon the cancellation date of the tax stamp attendant to that set.
The deck is a 54-card tarok deck -- 4 suits of 8 cards each, 21 trumps and the Fool card – and 29 of the cards in this tarok deck are the same as cards in the standard “Green Spade” playing card deck (see, this shop, T00001597). The four suits are the same “no revoke” colors as the playing card set: green Spades, red Hearts, orange Diamonds, and black Clubs. Each suit has 8 cards: I, II, III, IV and four court cards. The cards numbered I-IV are the same as those cards in the playing card set. Three of the four “American” court cards are the same as the King, Queen and Jack (i.e., a Native American Chief and Squaw, and a white Scout) in the playing card set, and the “Fool” card in this tarok set is the Uncle Sam card that serves as the Joker in the playing card set. Each suit includes an additional court card – a white Horseman/Frontiersman that is the “American” answer to the Knight or Cavalier in European tarok and tarot sets. Most important, the 21 trumps are all gorgeous original designs, depicting scenes of Native American and frontier life.
The cards are accompanied by a paper insert that folds out and explains the deck and how it can be used to play tarok and other games. The cards are long and narrow, measuring 102mm x 58mm, and have blue gilt on the side. They come in the original box, with the tax stamp intact.
The cards are in excellent condition, very lightly used if at all, athough obviously handled over the years, with most of the blue gilt intact. The box is in very good condition, although there are tears at the bottom where it appears that someone tried unsuccessfully to open the box at the bottom to avoid damaging the tax stamp.
References: Dawson, The Hochman Encyclopedia of American Playing Cards, p.242, TA4; Keller, The Cary Collection of Playing Cards, USA 265, described in Volume II and pictured in Vol.4
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