INCREDIBLY RARE. William Redmayne’s early playing cards published of the English counties are arguably, the rarest and most desirable of all. Redmayne (fl.1674-1719, d.1719) was a printer active between 1674 and 1719. His 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’.
There are only three substantial collections of first state William Redmayne’s known to survive. First published in 1676 with just outline suitmarks, the second state, as here, was issued the following year and contained vertical bars for red suits or cross-hatching for the black suits. Only one recorded complete pack in either state survives. Each map is accompanied by surrounding descriptive text on their respective commodities and points of interest. The Club suit mark bears the roman numeration ‘II’ nearby. 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.
A tax was placed on playing cards from 11 June 1711 (10 Anne c.19). Stocks of cards held at this date were given until the 1 August to be brought in and stamped at the special rate of only half a penny. After that date the duty rose to 6d. as stamped here. At first it was placed randomly in the pack but from 1714 it was instructed to be placed on the ace of spades. This actual card is the one illustrated in Beresiner’s book published in 1983.
In 1719 he was imprisoned for printing libel on 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.
Provenance: Yasha Beresiner; private collection. Beresiner (1983) p. 253 (ill.); Beresiner (2010) p. 18; not in Chubb; Hodson (1984) I no. 146; King (1988) no. 16; King (2003) p. 141; Mann, Sylvia and David Kingsley. (1972). ‘Playing Cards Depicting maps of the British Isles, and of English and Welsh Counties’, in The Map Collectors’ Circle, no. 87 pp. 3-4, 18-19, App. II no. 4, App. III no. 3. pl. xii (listing all the cards); Skelton 97.