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[All the bubbles]

Additional Title(s):

Bubble companies

[London] : [Thomas Bowles], [1720]
Physical Description:
52 playing cards : illustrations ; each card 9.7 x 6.4 cm
Rare Books and Manuscripts
GV1199 A4
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Copyright Status:
Copyright Not Evaluated
Three-Dimensional Artifacts
BEIN ENG89: Imperfect: lacking 3 of Diamonds. From the Cary Collection of Playing Cards. Hand coloration of suit signs of hearts and diamonds. Tax stamp on Ace of Spades, red; [crown] / VI Pence.
Each card's suit is given in a panel at top left; in the numeral cards shown as pips, in the court cards as single figures.
Title from: Mann, Sylvia. Collecting playing cards. New York [c1966], p. 156.
Sometimes referred to as The bubble companies.
For a detailed description of the subject matter of the cards, see Whiting. See also: British Museum. Dept. of Prints and Drawings. Catalogue of political and personal satires, vol. II, nos. 1620, 1621, 1625, and 1629.
Type: Historical.
Composition of deck: 52 [A, K, Q, J, 10-2].
Selected exhibitions: “The Cottage of Content, or, Toys, Games, and Amusements of Nineteenth Century England" (Yale Center for British Art, November 2 - December 31, 1977); “Pleasures and Pastimes" (Yale Center for British Art, February 21 - April 29, 1990).
Whiting, J. R. S. Handful of history, pages 174-188
Cottage of content, or, Toys, games, and amusements of nineteenth century England, 45
Fairman, Elisabeth R. Pleasures and pastimes, 48
Keller, W.B. Catalogue of the Cary Collection of Playing Cards in the Yale University Library, ENG89
BAC GV1199 A4: Tax stamp of a red crown is on the 7 of spades.
Set of 52 playing cards concerning the rise and fall of speculative "bubble" companies in 1720. A mania for speculation had spread from France to England earlier that year. By mid-summer, the South Sea Company, one of the largest of the speculative projects, filed suit against some its smaller competitors. Investors panicked, withdrew their money and the bubbles burst. The set includes cards on themes of agriculture, fishing and whaling, insurance, waste disposal, and speculations in the American colonies. Notable examples include: Puckle's machine (the eight of spades), an early and operable version of the machine gun; life insurance (six of spades), which was still largely thought of as a form of gambling; and seamen's tickets (eight of clubs), a form of wages for sailors, redeemably only at their home ports.
Subject Terms:
Cary, Mary Flagler -- Ownership.
Cary, Melbert B., Jr., 1892-1941 -- Ownership.
Financial crises -- Great Britain.
Great Britain -- Stock companies.
Playing cards -- England -- Specimens -- Early works to 1800.
South Sea Bubble, Great Britain, 1720.
South Sea Company
Playing cards.
Engravings -- 1720.
Tax stamps (Printing)
Bowles, Thomas, -1767, publisher.
Cary Collection of Playing Cards (Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library)

Pleasures and Pastimes (Yale Center for British Art, 1990-02-21 - 1990-04-29) [YCBA Objects in the Exhibition]

Cottage of Content, or, Toys, Games, and Amusements of Nineteenth Century England (Yale Center for British Art, November 2, 1977-December 31, 1977) [YCBA Objects in the Exhibition]

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