Fortune Telling Cards by Charles Magnus ca 1876
There aren’t many cards by Charles Magnus. He did a lot of song sheets, envelope covers, larger lithographs but other than his Civil War portraits there aren’t many sets to cover.
When the opportunity presented itself some time ago to acquire this set of Fortune Telling Cards, I didn’t think long before taking the dealer up on the offer. This is a complete set of cards along with a box (not in the best shape) and instruction set (not in any kind of shape).
So what is our fortune today?
Originally created by Fisher and Brother’s, this set of fortune telling cards seems to have been popular in the 1880s. There are a number of sets from Fisher but they tended toward single color. Magnus picked up the design from them after they shut down in the 1870s and continued issuing them for a number of years.
The cover of the box is overstamped with an additional address for Magnus at 905 Callowhill Street, Philadelphia PA. That tells us that this is likely an expansion that was related to the Centennial Exposition, held in Philadelphia in 1876. I’ll admit to speculation with cause here.
The instructions are barely together, coming apart at half of the seams. One side was printed in English and the other side in German.
This set was the cheapest of all at 25 cents. I have not seen the Oraculum or Wizard cards but am always on the lookout. The instructions state to deal out the cards and have them shuffled and cut in a particular way based on the inquiry the subject is making.
The solutions are interesting to read but as I have no interest in such things, here are some card examples from each suit.
As we look at the cards we find that they follow standard card suits but don’t fill all of the numbers for each suit. King, Queen and Jack (Nave/Knave) are there for all but not all numbers.
I find this little set of cards very interesting and hopefully this was a useful article for you today. Happy collecting!