3 in WIDE
(7.62 cm WIDE)
Gift of Mrs. Alice Sproge

a. on exhibit 19th c. gallery 9/78 | Early California Art and History, Science Special Gallery, December 2007 - September 2009

Playing cards. a. California Poker deck by Samuel Hart & Co., New York. b. Lawrence Cohen & Co. cards. c. Official Pan American Exposition, New York playing cards, 1901. d. Alphabet cards. From the History Information Station Abraham Hart was a producer and printer of playing cards in the 1840s. His trademark was the bright plaid backs of his decks. Hart made several "special" labels to honor important events during his career. When the Gold Rush began he printed this, his famous "California Poker Deck." There is nothing different about the deck, except that the ace of spades has two Forty-niners. "Eureka" is a Greek word meaning "I have found it." "Double yer money, gents!" Mining itself was something of a gamble in which a man's wealth seemed due as much to luck as to skill or hard work. And many men willing to gamble on mining were more than willing to gamble their hard-earned gold on the faro deck or the speed of the month dealer's hand. William Swain, a miner who deplored the lax morals of this compatriots, wrote that, "It is not unusual to see hundreds of dollars staked on the turning of a single card." In Sacramento, "there were a great number of dealers in produce, but more dealers of monte. The taverns have usually...three or four tables and a man behind dealing monte, at all hours from breakfast to midnight." Bayard Taylor, who toured California as a correspondent for the New York Tribune, said that "where there is gold there are gamblers. Our little village boasted of a least a dozen monte tables."

Used: California

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