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Belgium “Gala de la Publicité” Playing Cards, Maker Unknown, May Neama Designs, c.1960
Very rare and extremely charming deck of cards known as the “Gala de la Publicité” deck, made c.1960 by an unknown maker, and featuring the exceptional original designs of Belgian artist May Neama. Based upon the fact that Neama is Belgian, and upon some internal evidence on the cards themselves, it seems very likely that the cards were made in Belgium, but I can find nothing identifying the maker. I do not know what the “Gala de la Publicitè” is, or was in 1960, but note that all of the court cards and Aces have banners with the names of companies on them, suggesting the Gala was some kind business conference or advertising service entity. The backs of the cards have the “signatures” of these companies. The Aces have 1s on them, and the court cards have French indices. I believe these cards are quite rare, because I cannot find any reference to these cards at the World Web Playing Card Museum, or in the literature available to me.
The deck has 52 cards, plus 2 Jokers. The cards are bridge size, measuring 87mm x 58mm, with gold gilt at the corners. They come in a plastic box; I do not know if the box is original to the cards.
The cards are “as new.” The plastic box is slightly cloudy, but otherwise without issues.
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