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The History Of Dice And Cards

Volume I

The Gaming Table by Andrew Steinmetz, Volume II

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The History Of Dice And Cards

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The fabrication of cards is a most important manufacture of
France; and Paris and Nancy are the two places where most cards
are made. The annual consumption of cards in France amounts to
1,500,000 francs, or L62,500; but France also supplies foreigners
with the article, especially the Spanish, American, Portuguese,
and English colonies, to the value of 1,000,000 francs, or
L41,666. The government derives from this branch of French
industry not much less than L25,000 annual revenue, that is, from
20 to 25 per cent. of the product. The duty on cards is secured
and enforced by severe penalties.

English cards are about a third larger than the French. The
double-headed cards are an English invention, and they are being
adopted by the French. Their advantage is obvious, in securing
the secrecy of the hand, for by observing a party in arranging
his cards after the deal, the act of turning up a card plainly
shows that it must be at least a face card, and the oftener this
is done the stronger the hand, in general. In Germany, a fourth
face-card is sometimes added to the pack, called the Knight, or
Chevalier. The Italians have also in use long cards, called
tarots, which, however, must not be confounded with the French
cards called tarotees, with odd figures on them, and used by
fortune-tellers.

The method of making playing-cards seems to have given the first
hint to the invention of printing, as appears from the first
specimens of printing at Haerlem, and those in the Bodleian
Library.

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