INCREDIBLY RARE. This is from arguably the rarest and most desirable of the early playing cards done of the English counties. There are only three substantial collections of first state William Redmayne (fl.1674-1719, d.1719) cards known to survive. First published in 1676 with just outline suitmarks, the second state issued the following year contained vertical bars for red suits or cross-hatching for the black suits as seen here. Only one recorded complete pack in either state survives. Redmayne’s cards were published just three months after those of Robert Morden and advertised in the ‘Trinity Term Catalogue’ as being for sale by ‘Redmayne at the Crown on Addle Hill; Henry Mortlock at the Phoenix, Robert Turner at the Star, in St. Paul’s Church-yard; H. Cox in Holborn; and B. Billingsley at the Printing Press in Cornhill’. Redmayne was a printer active between 1674 and 1719. In 1719 he was imprisoned for printing libel about the government and died in April in Newgate Prison of a fever. The maps on the Redmayne cards are smaller than those on the rival by Morden and are reminiscent of those thumb-nail maps by Matthew Simmons in 1635.
The whereabouts of the plates after this are unknown until one final similarly rare issue by John Lenthall. Hodson recorded only two examples; both in the G. L. Phillips collection at the Guildhall Library, neither complete. Here Lenthall adds his characteristic decorative border to the card. Lenthall first advertised the Redmayne cards in the ‘St. James’s Evening Post’ for 19-22 January 1716/17. Hodson deduced that the first appearance in Lenthall’s regular advertising most likely indicated its date of acquisition.
Each map is accompanied by surrounding descriptive text on their respective commodities and points of interest. The Spade suit mark bears an image of the jack to the right. Provenance: private English collection. Beresiner (2010) p. 18; not in Chubb; Hodson (1984-97) I no. 146; King (2003) p. 141; Mann and Kingsley (1972) pp. 3-4, 18-19, App. II no. 4, App. III no. 3. pl. xii (listing all the cards); refer Skelton (1970) 97.