London: John Camden Hotten, 1865.
First Edition. Leather_bound. Presented handsomely here in a 19th century fine leather binding, The History of Playing Cards holds an impressive breadth of knowledge on one of man's favorite pastimes and means of magic and prognostication, with subjects including the origin of playing cards, Tarot and ancient divinatory use of cards by the Roma people, the expansion of playing cards through South and East Asia, the Middle East, and Western Europe, particularly in France and England, gambling, fortune-telling, sleight of hand, and the use of cards in several fields of science. Sections of particular interest include "History of Tarots, as Told by Themselves," "The Application of Cards to Science," covering heraldic cards, astronomical and fortune-telling cards, and others, "Fortune-Telling," which touches on early historical cartomancy, the Sybil's Leaves, methods of use, and more, and "Conjuring and Card-Sharping," covering descriptions of several sleight of hand magic tricks. Adding to its charms, this 1865 first edition is beautifully illustrated throughout in a frontispiece and 48 wood-engraved plates.
6 5/8" X 4 1/2". xiii, 529pp. Halfbound in light brown calfskin with marbled paper over boards, red Morocco leather label to spine, lettered in gilt, with five raised bands and gilt-stamped floral compartments. Moderate edgewear to binding, with bumping to corners, rubbing to extremities, scattered rubbing, small scrape to upper board, and small inkstain to bottom edge of upper board. All edges a light red. Ex libris William C. Stuart, with his unicorn-bearing bookplate to front pastedown. Binding is firm and sound. Pages are clean and unmarked. Illustrated in frontispiece in red and black, title vignette in red and black, and 48 wood-engraved plates. Very good. Item #9974