Excellent deck of playing cards ostensibly made by Amiravan & Co. of Egypt, “Pharaonic” brand, and published by Lehnert & Landrock, the renowned Egyptian photography and publishing firm. The court cards are the standard English pattern. The backs feature a 20th century illustration by artist D. Vassiliou of three female musicians; the illustration is derived from a portion of a wall painting that adorns the Tomb/Chapel of Nakht, but with significant color embellishments.
The dating of this deck is difficult. The deck includes a backed insert card in French with bridge scoring, and this card is dated 1935. The World Web Playing Card Museum dates this deck to 1935, no doubt influenced by the insert card. However, these cards come in a wrapper inside a box, and the wrapper and box reference “Publishers Lehnert & Landrock, K. Lambelet Succr. Cairo – U.A.R.” The “Lambelet Succr.” designation was used beginning in 1945, and the “U.A.R” designation references the union of Egypt and Syria which began in 1958. Moreover, the wrapper housing the cards has a tax band that Peter Endebrock indicates was used for cards imported into Egypt in or around 1962. These later dates are not conclusive as to the time the cards were made, since the cards may have been printed in the 1930s, but imported much later by Lehnert & Landrock. However, it is equally true that the insert card dated 1935 is not conclusive as to the date of manufacture.
There are 52 cards, plus 1 Joker, plus the backed insert card noted. The cards are wide, measuring 89mm x 65mm. As noted they are in a wrapper inside a box, both original to the deck, albeit perhaps later than the time the cards were printed. The writing on the box is in Arabic and English. The cards are “as new,” in beautiful shape. The wrapper is in excellent condition, when compared to most card wrappers that are at least 45 years old, and the box is in good condition, missing both of its top side flaps but otherwise structurally sound and relatively clean.
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