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 Harlequin Insert Playing Cards Minimize

Published by Kinney Tobacco Co. in 1888
(from the collection of Tom and Judy Dawson)

Tobacco insert cards were very popular during the last part of the 19th century, and a playing card motif was quite common. On the back of each insert card, including this Ace of Spades, was a listing of the 52 cards available to be collected one at a time through the purchase of packages of tobacco.

This deck, except for the Spade Ace, was a copy in miniature [the cards measured 1.5 x 2.75 inches] of a famous deck published in 1879 by Tiffany’s with designs by C. E. Carryl. The courts, like those of the spade suit shown here, were comic in nature.

The pip cards were all transformations - that is the comic designs incorporated the suit pips in their logical positions. Several examples follow.

The Tiffany transformation, or Harlequin deck, is one of the cleverest and most sought after transformation decks produced in America, and a must for all serious playing card collectors.

Reference - The Hochman Encyclopedia of American Playing Cards by Tom & Judy Dawson, I8 and T4.


    
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