Superb set of early California Souvenir cards, made by United States Playing Card Co., and published by R.J. Waters, c.1900. The cards are copyrighted c.1898-1900, but the tax stamp was canceled in 1903. There is an early scenic California photograph on each suited card, with the California Golden Bear on the Joker. The backs have the California seal, surrounded by the California Poppy.
The deck has 52 cards, plus 1 Joker, plus 1 blank, unbacked card. The cards are wide, measuring 88mm x 62mm, with gold gilt around. They come in the original, telescope-type box.
The cards are in excellent lightly used condition with approximately 75% of the gold gilt intact. The inner box is in very good condition, structurally intact and reasonably clean, with wear at the edges and corners; the outer box is in no better than fair condition, held together with tape, with overall wear and light staining.
Reference: Dawson, The Hochman Encyclopedia of American Playing Cards, p. 255, S12.
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