FIRST STATE. A nice example of a very rare cartographic playing card. Robert Morden’s cards usually come in two states, this is an example of the first before the addition of neighbouring counties. It was first advertised in the ‘Term Catalogues’ for Easter Term 1676 as ‘The 52 Countries [sic] of England and Wales, described in a Pack of Cards … Sold by Robert Morden at the Atlas in Cornhill, Will. Berry at the Globe in the Strand, Robert Green in Budge Row, and George Minikin at the King’s Head in S. Martin’s.’ The second state was advertised in the ‘Term Catalogues’ for October of the same year, 1676.
Following the Restoration of King Charles II there was much renewed interest in the pleasures of life in England after the puritan values of the Cromwell era. Amongst these was a keen desire for gaming, including the use of packs of cards. Geographical cards had been issued before this date but they usually constituted descriptive text with or without a small illustration of some kind; for example, those of H. Winstanley in 1665. The mid-1670s saw a rush of cards bearing maps. Arber (1903-06) I. 263; Mann & Kingsley (1972) p. 26; Skelton (1970) no. 94; Worms & Baynton-Williams (2011).