Beautiful set of souvenir cards made by United States Playing Card Co. and published by The Waters Co., c.1900, with early photographs of Washington, D.C. The Dawson/Hochman Encyclopedia shows several editions of these cards (S64 to S66), but I believe that cards were used interchangeably in editions subsequent to the First Edition in 1900. The box bears a copyright date of 1909, and I believe that this set dates to that year. But the 1909 set in the Encyclopedia has different backs, and so I am not completely certain. In the Encyclopedia, The First Edition from 1900 mentions The Waters Co., as does the box for these cards. And the World Web Playing Card Museum shows the “Places of Interest” card for this set as belonging to the 1909 set. It is conceivable that the set dates as early as 1900, or as late as 1924, but I think that 1909 is the correct date. There is the remnant of a tax stamp on the box, but all that the stamp does is to put an outer limit of 1924 on the date of the deck.
The set has 52 suited cards, plus a Dupont Circle Joker, plus a “Places of Interest” card listing the places shown on the other cards of the deck. The cards are wide, measuring 89mm x 63mm, with gold gilt around, and come in the original telescope type box.
The cards are in superb condition, “as new” or very nearly so, with all gold gilt intact. The inner box is fine, but the outer box is in no better than good condition, if that; it has general wear, modest soiling, and one side has separated along an edge.
Reference: Dawson, The Hochman Encyclopedia of American Playing Cards, p. 261, S64-S66
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