Superb set of “Royal Illuminated Playing Cards,” made by New York Consolidated Card Co. c.1894, quite correctly described by the Dawson/Hochman Encyclopedia as “one of the most beautiful American decks ever manufactured, with its fine engraving, many colors, and liberal use of gold.”
The Encyclopedia also describes the deck’s origins:
“This deck was originally thought to have been issued for the Paris Exposition in 1878 and therefore originally listed in the Exposition and World’s Fair chapter. It has subsequently been demonstrated (refer to Clear The Decks, Vol. VII, No.2) that it was published in the mid-1890s as a deck commemorating the Triple Alliance of Germany, Austria and Russia (subsequently replaced by Italy) and the suits are dedicated to these four powers. The clubs show personages from Germany; the diamonds, Austrians; the hearts, Italians; and the spades, Russians (with the exception that the queens are reversed on the heart and spade suits).”
The deck is complete with 52 suited cards, plus 1 gorgeous Joker. The cards are wide, measuring 89mm x 63mm, with dazzling gold gilt around, and come in the original NYCC "Royal" box.
The cards are in remarkable condition, “as new” or very nearly so, with all of the gold gilt intact; it is probably as fine a set of the cards themselves as you are likely to find. The box is in what should probably be described as fair to good condition – reasonably clean and with strong colors, but held together by tape in many places. Still, it is wonderful to have the original box, regardless of condition.
References: Dawson, The Hochman Encyclopedia of American Playing Cards, p.232, P22
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Playing Cards and Card Game Collectibles
Antique and Vintage Playing Cards, Cribbage Boards, Whist Markers, Trump Indicators, Game Boxes, and Other Card Game Items