Clive A. Burden LTD. Rare Maps, Antique Atlases, Books and Decorative Prints

The Mapping of North America

Mr. Philip D. Burden​
P.O. Box 863,
Chalfont St. Giles, Bucks HP6 9HD,
Tel: +44 (0) 1494 76 33 13

AN EXTREMELY RARE SERIES OF PLAYING CARDS. In 1798 John Fairburn published a set of playing cards of the English and Welsh counties. The game however is not based on a normal pack of cards. The sole surviving example of the first state comes with a small booklet ‘… intended to render Fairburn’s Game of English Geography clearly understood.’ The game was to capture your opponent’s cards by matching adjoining counties to your own hand. This would produce a flush. The cards each bear numbers for the adjoining counties which refer to the rule book for identification. The first state of the cards lacks these numbers and is possibly considered a proof. Here we have the finished versions. The capitals of each county are written all in uppercase and their distance from London is marked. All the cards are engraved by Robert Rowe. Rowe produced a number of playing cards from this period through to the production of his magnificent folio county atlas in 1816. He produced one further set of county maps as playing cards in conjunction with Joseph Allen in 1811, these are also extremely scarce. Only three collections of the cards are known to exist, two are in private collections and this collection offered here. One card, Essex, is recorded in another collection. None survive in any British institution searched. Provenance: private English collection. Carroll 54.

[The Junction of the Counties in England and Wales]

London, 1798
AN EXTREMELY RARE SERIES OF PLAYING CARDS. 26 engraved playing cards of the counties of England and Wales comprising 5 Welsh and 21 English (of 52, 12 Welsh & 42 English). Contained in modern octavo box, quarter calf, marbled boards, gilt spine with titles.
Stock number: 1943


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