Having just bought a complete set of Georgian playing cards I did a spot of research about them.
Did you know there was a tax on playing cards? Like many items in the Georgian period, but what was unusual about this was the act
stayed in place until relatively recently it was abolished on 4 April 1960.
Playing cards was seen as addictive gambling and as such proved to be an easy source of income generation. In order to prevent tax avoidance the Ace of Spades was held by customs and only issued once duty had been paid by the card maker. The Ace of Spades was the chosen card to show the tax due and every maker of playing cards had to have a mark of his own to indicate recognition of his name on the card.
The set photographed is by Hunt & Sons and the duty paid was one shilling and sixpence., mashed George III.
The cards would have originally been in a leather outer, the box was made specifically for storing cards with diamond inlay to the lid and diamond ace to the base.