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Icelandic “Islenzk Spil” (Originally, "Fornmannaspilin" --“Historical Icelandic Playing Cards”), c.1964
Excellent set of cards published originally in 1930 as “Fornmannaspilin,” or “Historical Icelandic Playing Cards,” and later published in a number of subsequent editions as “Islenzk Spil.” The deck commemorated the 1000th anniversary of Iceland, and featured original designs by Tryggvi Magnuson, depicting historical Icelandic Vikings from 1000 years ago on the court cards and Icelandic scenes on the Aces. The courts and Aces are double ended in the sense that the illustrations at the two ends of each court card and Ace are different. The cards were made in Altenburg by Coeur. They are accompanied by an explanatory booklet that has a Magnus Kjaran copyright notation; however, the deck lacks the Magnuson copyright notation on the 7 of Hearts, which means that the cards are from an edition issued after 1937. While the box refers to “53 Spil,” there are 2 Jokers, and this suggests that this set was probably printed in an edition from 1964; there is a notation on the booklet that suggests this publication year as well. I have dated the cards accordingly, though conceivably they date earlier.
The deck is complete with 52 cards, plus 2 Jokers. As noted it is accompanied by an explanatory booklet in English that identifies the historical figures and scenes depicted. The cards are slightly large, measuring 92mm x 60mm and come in the original box.
The cards are in excellent condition, handled and viewed, but lightly used if at all. The box is in good, perhaps very good, condition, with some wear and soiling. If it once had top side flaps they are missing now.
References: Fournier, Playing Cards, Iceland 3.
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