This rare and striking deck is a bit of a mystery.
The Ace of Spades is a variant of the Goodall #6 Ace in Lodge, an Ace said by Lodge to be found in varying sizes and widths in Goodall cards c.1890-1941. The only differences between this Ace and Lodge's Goodall #6 Ace are that this Ace has no words on it and at the bottom the overall design this Ace is flanked by large birds of prey (hawks or buzzards or eagles?), not the lion and unicorn of the British Coat of Arms. The World Web Playing Card Museum indicates that this precise Ace (with the birds and without words) is a Goodall Ace (WWPCM#01521/09), but the WWPCM supplies few details and is uncertain of the brand. The WWPCM also has a listing for this deck under its India cards with the same basic information (or lack thereof) (WWPCM#14238), It seems to me that the WWPCM simply notes the similarity of the spade Ace to a Goodall Ace and draws a logical conclusion. The deck includes a backed insert card with "Royal Auction Bridge" scoring, "Under Portland Club Laws, 1928." This insert card strongly indicates that the cards were made c.1930, as auction bridge would soon thereafter give way to contract bridge. FWIW, the WWPCM dates the deck c.1920s.
It is tempting, then, to describe these cards as Goodall cards. However, the seller to me, a knowledgeable card collector, indicated that he believed the deck was made in India, and certainly the paper used (somewhat coarse, unfinished) supports that conclusion. In addition, the court cards (a variant of the Standard English Pattern) are unlike any shown in Lodge for Goodall, or any other English maker, frankly, the designs are original and different enough to cast doubt on the idea that these are Goodall cards. I am not aware that Goodall made cards in India, although it is certainly possible.
On balance, although paper cards from India are very rare during this period, I am inclined to believe that this deck was made in India, maker unknown, and that it borrows/imitates elements (spade Ace, insert card) from Goodall and/or other British makers of the day. The backs of the cards depict a peacock – the national bird of India – that gives the deck its name. The deck has 52 cards, plus a terrific Joker, and the insert card noted. The cards are bridge size, measuring 88mm x 58mm, and come in the original box.
The cards are in excellent condition, with a slight abrasion on the front surface of the insert card, but otherwise without issues; I don't think that the cards were ever used to play a game. The box is in very good condition, with some wear and soiling.
Thanks for visiting.
Another shopper has this item in their Cart or Wish List
Playing Cards and Card Game Collectibles
Antique and Vintage Playing Cards, Cribbage Boards, Whist Markers, Trump Indicators, Game Boxes, and Other Card Game Items