Beautiful, rare deck of cards, titled "Cine Manual / patente 34,141," made c.1927. The faces of the cards feature delightful art deco style illustrations of famous persons, including athletes, aviators and movie stars. The backs are a numbered series of cartoons that feature "Periquito" – Felix the Cat – and that make a "flick book" when viewed in numerical order. The maker is identified by the World Web Playing Card Museum as "Graficas Valenica S.L.," and I have adopted that attribution here. However, in his book, "The Playing Cards of Spain," Trevor Denning describes the deck as "maker unknown," and there is nothing I can find on the cards themselves to identify a maker. Both sources agree on the date of the cards.
Denning has this to say about the deck as part of a discussion of "chocolate cards," cards inserted in chocolate products in Spain beginning in or about the 1870s:
"One pack more than any other catches the flavour of the era very precisely by adopting an art deco style of some distinction and by extending its subject matter beyond the film world to include other vigorous activities exemplified by their contemporary champions. Hence Tom Mix appears beside the boxer Max Schmeling and Douglas Fairbanks beside torero Marcial Lalanda. Aviation receives much attention and apart from more general references to flight, no less than eight specific aviators are shown, among them Charles Lindberg and several heroes of the Spanish Air Force. However, the reason why this pack remains firmly linked to cinematograph history is the unusual feature on the reverse. Here we find `Cine Manual / patente 34.141' and a series of forty-eight numbered frames depicting Periquito (Felix the Cat) which combine to form an animated `flick book.' These, with a less well-known companion pack, must be the only playing-cards which can be said to incorporate moving pictures."
The deck is a complete Spanish deck with 48 cards, 12 cards numbered 1-12 in each of the 4 Spanish suits (Coins, Cups, Swords, Batons). As noted, the backs are numbered 1-48 successively to tell a story and thus each back is slightly different from the next. The cards are square cornered on thin unfinished stock and are slightly long, measuring 93mm x 58mm. There is no box; the cards came to me in a simple plastic box that is not original, and the cards will travel to the buyer in that box.
The cards are in superb, "as new" condition.
Reference: Denning, The Playing-Cards of Spain, p.113.
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