Effective July 1, 2014, the State of Alabama suspended the enforcement of its tax on playing cards pursuant to a statute that provides for the suspension of the collection of any state tax “when the cost of administering the collection of the tax exceeds the total amount of the tax collected.” Since something like 1935, the State of Alabama had collected a tax on playing cards, even after the Federal Government stopped doing so. Examples of the Alabama playing card tax stamps used over the decades are shown at Peter Endebrock’s wonderful website on playing card tax stamps.
Listed here is a mint and sealed double deck of advertising cards for “Stockton Buick” of Huntsville. Each deck has an Alabama tax stamp that Endebrock presumes was used c.1946. He does not claim an expertise in these stamps, and I do not know how reliable that date is. However, I have an open set of these cards and they are standard B&B cards with only 1 Joker, which supports the idea that the decks are pre-canasta decks (i.e., in rough terms, pre-1950). From information on the internet, it appears that Stockton Buick was sold in 1981 to another dealership representing multiple car makers. If Stockton Buick was “Huntsville’s Oldest New Car Dealer” when these cards were made, it is not difficult to accept 1946 as the approximate date of manufacture, and I have done so. I do know that the stamp on these cards is not the most recent stamp used by the State of Alabama. Finally, the decks also have a 1 pack federal tax stamp in addition to the Alabama stamp, which dates that deck to the period 1940-1965.
I do not know how rare these Alabama tax stamps from the 1940s are. These are the first decks I have ever had or seen with Alabama tax stamps and so I am inclined to think that they are somewhat rare. As I understand it, the tax is paid by the buyer, and certainly a $.10 tax on a single deck of cards in 1946 might be enough to justify a trip to a neighboring state. As noted above, the tax has been suspended because the cost to collect is greater than the revenue raised. I believe that each deck has 52 suited cards, plus 1 standard B&B Joker. The cards are bridge size, measuring 89mm x 58mm, and the 2 decks com in what I think is the original B&B plastic box.
As noted, the cards are mint and sealed. One side of the box top is missing a connecting peg and will disengage from time to time. Otherwise, the box is in excellent condition.
I HAVE A MINT, SEALED SINGLE DECK OF THESE CARDS, WITH FEDERAL AND ALABAMA TAX STAMPS, BUT WITHOUT A BOX. IT IS FOR SALE FOR $15. IF INTERESTED, PLEASE SEND ME AN EMAIL.
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Double Deck Brown & Bigelow “Stockton Buick” Playing Cards, Alabama Tax Stamps, c.1946