This is an extraordinary early set of card dominoes, a complete (28) double-six set. I wish that I knew more about them.
It appears that the set may have been specially made by a printer named “Dubois” for someone by the name of Henry Jullier, or close to it. One of the cards has the words “Propriètè de l’Auteur” (“Property of Author”), with the signature “Henry Jullier” (or close to it), which suggests to me that Jullier designed these cards. I note that one of the cards says, “Lith. r Dubois 27,” which clearly seems to indicate that “Dubois” made the cards. I interpret “27” to be the year the cards were made, but what I don’t know is whether “27” is 1727, 1827 or 1927. The cards have a crown and laurel wreaths as part of the design, and conceivably those items are some kind of family crest or other family insignia.
The cards are housed in the original box, and it is a wonderful old box. However, it has sustained a lot of wear. I think that it once contained relevant information about the cards, but there is nothing legible on it at this point. I do not think that the cards are 20th century cards, and certainly don’t think that the box is a 20th century box. By the same token, it seems unlikely to me that the cards and box date to 1727. Dominoes as a game first made it to Europe in the early 18th century, and card dominoes probably followed much later. In addition, there is a similar but even more elegant set of similar paper dominoes, identified as French, in the Cary Collection, and Keller dates them to 1860. Accordingly, and assuming “27” is a date reference, I have dated this set c.1827.
As noted the set is a complete double-six set, with 28 cards. The backs have a marble pattern. The 0/0 card and the 0/6 card contain the information noted above about the maker and owner/designer. The cards are small by contemporary standards, measuring 86mm x 56mm, and they come in the original box.
The cards are in excellent condition, except that one of the card backs has a significant abrasion. The faces and backs of all cards are pictured. The box is in no better than good condition, structurally intact, but with significant wear. However, if I am right that the set dates to 1827, then to be fair the condition of the box is remarkably good when its age is taken into consideration.
Reference: Keller, The Cary Collection of Playing Cards, France 243.
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