Handmade Russian Prison Playing Cards, Complete 32 Card Deck

Regular price $200.00

I learned about the existence of Russian prison playing cards from Eric Oglander at tihngs, who has sold a few decks, and I wanted to hold a deck in my hands. They're pretty amazing. This complete 32 card deck plus two blanks came straight from Russian, and I know from the seller that they were made in IK 19 prison in Kazan in 2010. These, from what I understand, were not made by prisoners to sell, but rather are made as a single deck to use inside, where playing cards are forbidden, so we can guess these have seen play, and from what I've been reading the stakes are pretty fierce, including the forcible application of pornographic tattoos for those with unpaid gambling debts!

It appears that a series of carved stencils, inked in red and black, were used to make these, configured in different ways. The 32 card deck is a piquet- or French style-deck, including aces, royal cards, and 7-10 of each suit. If you look closely, you can distinguish that there are four distinct suits to these, two red and two black, which I've arranged as such and I think in the correct order more or less. So one could definitely play piquet or rummy or whatever with these now, it might just take some getting used to! 

Very good condition, of a nice weight, and housed in the Russian cigarette pack they came in! The backs are printed in a black pattern against the cream colored card. Cards measure 3 5/16" x 2 1/8".