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Nintendo “Back to Country” Playing Cards, Adv. Van Jacket, Inc., c.1960s?
Terrific deck of cards made by Nintendo for Van Jacket, Inc., a Japanese fashion company, featuring “through a keyhole” illustrations of famous persons, including John F. Kennedy, Frank Sinatra, Sammy Davis, Jr., Brigitte Bardot, Sophia Loren, Mao Zedong, and the Frankenstein monster. The seller to me, a very knowledgeable and reliable card seller, dated these cards to 1979, and perhaps that is the correct date. However, the figures depicted were prominent in the early 1960s, and I find it difficult to believe that cards made for a fashion house in 1979 would feature deceased political leaders and “past their prime” entertainers and movie stars. I assume that the “Country” and “Country Club” references are related to slogans or advertising campaigns used by Van Jacket at the time the cards were made.
The deck has 52 cards, plus 2 Jokers. The red suits are illustrated in red and white against a red background, and the black suits are illustrated in black and white against a black background. The cards are long and wide, measuring 108mm x 63mm, and come in the original box. The box is a cardboard telescope type, rather than the hard plastic box more commonly associated with Nintendo cards, suggesting an early date to me.
The cards are in “as new” condition, and the box is in exceptional condition, with only the slightest wear. I can find no reference to these cards on the internet or in the literature available to me, and tend to think that they are somewhat rare.
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