Excellent set of the famous cards made by United States Playing Card Co. for Anheuser-Busch at the conclusion of the Spanish-American War, c.1900. It is listed in the Dawson/Hochman Encyclopedia as both an Advertising deck, and a War deck. Regrettably, it is missing its Joker, but it is otherwise a wonderful example of this popular and admired set of cards. The Kings and Jacks show military leaders that were prominent in the conflict, including “Col.” Roosevelt and Admiral Dewey. Except for the 4s, the pip cards are set against a light brown image of the Anheuser-Busch brewing facility and plant.
Just two years earlier, in 1898 while the War was still pending, this basic deck was made by Gray Lithographing Co., but there are noteworthy differences between this second deck and its predecessor. Among them, the 1900 version for sale here contains an advertisement for a brand of Anheuser-Busch beer on each of the Aces. In addition, each of the 4s shows an inset image of a famous warship.
The deck has all 52 suited cards, but, as noted above, is missing its Joker. The cards are wide, measuring 88mm x 63mm, with gold gilt around. There is no box.
The cards are in excellent, lightly used condition, with approximately 35% of the gold gilt remaining. There is edge wear, and the cards have obviously been handled, with minor soiling, but there are no creases, tears, or corner issues.
Reference: Dawson, The Hochman Encyclopedia of American Playing Cards, pp. 182, 220, A10, W16
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