An unusual deck of cards

On Feb. 15, 1890, a short article appeared in the Chicago Tribune, telling the story of a man who had an unusual deck of cards. He had found every card lying on the street. It took him twenty years to collect the entire pack. Here's the article:

A Chicago Sport Has Spent Twenty Years in Picking up a Pack

Frank Damek, a member of the sporting fraternity of Chicago, has probably the queerest deck of cards in the world. He has been twenty years collecting the pack and is exceedingly proud of it. He first began by picking up playing cards in the street when he happened to run across them. In this way he got fifteen or more before he began striking duplicates. Some days he would find two or three, and then it would be months before he would see another stray pasteboard. But he persevered and always kept his eyes open to add to his strange collection.

In ten years he had all but thirteen cards necessary to complete his deck. In the next three years he considered himself lucky in finding all but four. The missing ones were the jack of clubs, the deuce of diamonds, and the trey of spades. In the course of another year he picked up the eight of diamonds and six months later was overjoyed to find what he at first thought was a full deck of cards lying on the sidewalk on Dearborn street, between Adams and Jackson streets.

He thought his long search was at an end and that he could easily complete his wonderful deck. The jack of clubs and the trey of spades were there all right, but five or six cards were missing, and among them the deuce of diamonds. It seemed as though he would never be able to secure his fifty-second card, but the other day he entered one of the suburban trains on the Northwestern, and almost the first thing he saw was the deuce of diamonds face upwards in the aisle. It was gilt-edged and glossy backed, the finest of them all. He had been searching for it for five and a half years, and breathed a sigh of relief. The pack is composed of cards of all qualities, from the cheapest to the highest prices. Some are clean and bright and others are soiled and well worn.

I'll add this to the list of weird collections. Though, honestly, I have some doubts that the story is true. It reads like the kind of thing that reporters back then routinely made up to fill column space.
     Posted By: Alex - Wed Aug 14, 2013
     Category: Collectors | Nineteenth Century

I agree, Alex, this one needs a grain of salt or two. A little to saccharine.
Posted by Expat47 in Athens, Greece on 08/14/13 at 10:37 AM
Sort of gives a new meaning to the phrase "deck of marked cards." I'm sure he would clean up playing a game of poker using his deck.
Posted by KDP on 08/14/13 at 11:33 AM
On Sex and the City, one male character, Jack Berger, collects such cards. When Carrie visits his apartment, there is a board with all sorts of playing cards affixed to it.

Y'know, 80% of adults who live in Manhattan do not have their own motor vehicles. Berger was one of only three major characters in the show to own one -- albeit a motorcycle. The other two are Aidan Show (pickup truck) and Big (limosine).

Posted by Josh Levin on 08/14/13 at 03:43 PM
Posted by Josh Levin on 08/14/13 at 03:44 PM
I call shenanigans on this story too Alex. I have never seen a playing card just lying on the ground anywhere ever in my life. Anybody else here ever find a stray card on the ground somewhere?
Posted by Patty in Ohio, USA on 08/14/13 at 08:39 PM
Wait a minute, Patty. You may have just provided proof that this story isn't a hoax. Somebody(ies?) out there are picking them all up before the rest of us even get a chance to see them! Why, there must be hoards of card collectors out there scanning the streets of every city in the world pouncing on any (and every) stray card there is to be had.
Posted by Expat47 in Athens, Greece on 08/15/13 at 12:11 AM
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