a tale on playing cards

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Postby MitsuMatsu » 06/03/11 09:24 AM

For a deck of playing cards, there is a well-known tale as follows.
The four suits correspond to the four seasons and the twelve picture cards to the twelve months. Add the values of all 52 cards, plus 1 for the joker, and you get 365, the days of the year."
Does someone know who first mentioned this, and when?

Then, I wonder who first found the additional interesting tale on cards; If you take the names of the thirteen card values from ACE to KING and count all the letters you'll find there are exactly 52.
Possibly Martin Gardner found the latter, I imagine.

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Postby Joe Pecore » 06/03/11 09:36 AM

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Postby MitsuMatsu » 06/03/11 06:30 PM

Yes, "Soldier's Prayer Book" is the one I lost the title of the book. Thank you for reminding me of it!
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Postby Joe Pecore » 06/03/11 06:55 PM

I did find that quote about the "If you take the names of the thirteen card values...." in Martin Gardner's book "Magic Numbers of Dr. Matrix" (1985)
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Postby MitsuMatsu » 06/03/11 09:46 PM

That is right. I just picked it up from the book to post the question.
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Postby Bill Mullins » 06/04/11 12:23 AM

MitsuMatsu wrote:For a deck of playing cards, there is a well-known tale as follows. . . .Does someone know who first mentioned this, and when?


The Magicpedia article quotes a version of this tale from Oct 1776. It also appeared in the Edinburgh Advertiser of Aug 6 1776 (from Newspaperarchive.com) as well as The Universal Magazineof Aug 1776.

But it may go as far back as 1763.
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Postby Joe Pecore » 06/04/11 06:15 AM

I bow down to the awesome research powers of Bill Mullins! :)
Great finds. I updated MagicPedia.
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Postby MitsuMatsu » 06/05/11 03:35 AM

Dear Bill Mullins,
I appreciate your in-depth information on the topic. Very much helpful!
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Postby Bill Mullins » 06/08/11 05:56 PM

Frederic Jessels 1905 A Bibliography of Works in English on Playing Cards and Gaming contains:

"229. CARDS. -- Cards Spiritualized. The Perpetual Almanac, or a Gentleman Soldiers Prayer-Book. (A broadside often printed between 1744 and 1850. Also printed under the title of 'A Dialogue between a Nobleman and one of his Servants,' and 'A New Game at Cards,' and 'A Royal Game at Cards,' etc. The next number is an example of the Chapbook form.)

230. CARDS. A New Game at Cards. In a Dialogue, etc. 8 pp. 8vo. J. Potts, Dublin, 1750."
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Postby Bill Mullins » 06/08/11 06:23 PM

If you read the German language, HERE is a 1901 article exploring the story as folklore, with references to sources from other European languages.
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Postby Jonathan Townsend » 06/09/11 08:39 AM

Danke schn
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Postby MitsuMatsu » 06/10/11 08:53 AM

Bill Mullins wrote:The Magicpedia article quotes a version of this tale from Oct 1776. It also appeared in the Edinburgh Advertiser of Aug 6 1776 (from Newspaperarchive.com) as well as The Universal Magazineof Aug 1776.
But it may go as far back as 1763.


In those books published in 1770s, there is a sentence saying that the soldier then continued as follows: when I count the number of dots in a pack of cards, there are 365; so many days are there in a year.
This suggests that the joker was already introduced by that time because a 52-playing-card deck has 364 dots, and the joker must have counted for an additional dot.
However, according to the Oxford Dictionary of Card Games, David Parlett, pg. 104 and A History of Playing Cards and a Bibliography of Cards and Gaming, Catherine Perry Hargrave, pg. 345, the joker was originally introduced in about 1860 and 1870s respectively, although a 52 card pack was certainly introduced far before 1700s.
So, I wonder how the author of the Soldiers Prayer Book counted for the additional dot without the joker.
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