I was sitting at home desperately trying to figure out a method for vanishing a card into my dog, when I was suddenly paralyzed with a single burning question: Where does the godess on the ace of spades in Bicycle 808 packs come from?!!? (My girlfreind was out of town and damn if the cutie-pie on the ace didn't start to look good!!)
So I go to the United States Playing Card Co. site and stumble accross a great page dealing with the history of the company and its cards. The Godess was inspired by a sculpture by Thomas Crawford ("Statue of Freedom") which in 1865 was perched atop the capitol building. In her right hand she holds a sword and sheild, and in the left an olive branch. During the vietnam war, according to USP, she was seen as the Godess of death by the vietnamiese because of a psychological op involving bicycle ace of spades cards.
Also of interest is that during the second world war the USP made secret decks for the U.S. gov't to send in care packages for German held prisoners of war. When the cards were moistened, they split, revealing a section of a map with detailed escape routes!!! Cool!
Check it out usp history