United States Playing Card Company stock certificate 1962
Very rare stock certificate with a beautiful vignette of an allegorical Greek female figure. Dated Jan 8, 1962. Issued and cancelled. Incorporated in Ohio.
The United States Playing Card Company (USPCC), established in 1867 as Russell, Morgan & Co. and founded in its current incarnation in 1885, is a large producer and distributor of playing cards. Its many brands include Bicycle, Bee, Tally-Ho, Congress, Hoyle, Aviator, KEM, and several others. It also produces novelty and custom cards, and other playing card accessories such as poker chips. The company was once based in Cincinnati, Ohio, but is now headquartered in the Cincinnati suburb of Erlanger, Kentucky. It is currently a subsidiary of Newell Brands.
The company was founded in 1867 as Russell, Morgan & Co., a printing company. In 1881, Colonel Robert J. Morgan, recruited a talented, young inventor from New York named Samuel J. Murray, whose patented inventions increased the output of cards at the company's Norwood, Ohio plant fourfold and cut labor costs by 66 percent. Murray also created a two-sided enameling machine.
The company began printing four brands of playing cards in 1881: Tigers (No. 101), Sportsman's (No. 202), Army and Navy (both No. 303, No. 505 with Gold Edges), and Congress (No. 404, No. 606 with gold edges). They began printing Bicycle cards, which would become their most popular line, in 1885. Business boomed and in 1891 Russel, Morgan, & Co. changed its name to the United States Printing Company. The playing card business was successful enough that it was spun off as a separate business in 1894, as The United States Playing Card Company.
In the same year, it began its history of acquiring smaller playing card manufacturers when it acquired the Standard Playing Card Company, the Perfection Playing Card Company, and the New York Consolidated Card Company (makers of Bee and innovators of the "squeezer" card identifications in the corners: a design still in use today). Acquisitions continued throughout its history: Andrew Dougherty in 1907 (adding Tally-Ho), Russell Playing Card Co. in 1929 (adding Aristocrat), Heraclio Fournier, S.A in 1986, Arrco (formerly Arrow) Playing Card Company in 1987, Hoyle Products in 2001, and finally KEM Playing Cards in 2004. In 1930, USPCC subsidiaries Consolidated Card Co., Standard Playing Card Co., and Andrew Dougherty merged into Consolidated-Dougherty which continues to produce cards from all three brands including Bee and Tally-Ho.
Meanwhile, the company would itself be acquired several times in its history: starting with Diamond International in 1969, Jessup & Lamont in 1982, Frontenac in 1989, and then a return to self-ownership in 1994 before finally becoming a subsidiary of Jarden which was in turn acquired by Newell.
The USPCC has historically supported wartime soldiers, starting with the inexpensive Canteen brand of cards during the Spanish–American War and the Pickett brand during World War I. During World War II, USPCC manufactured spotter cards so soldiers can identify enemy units and cooperated with the U.S. Government in creating clandestine decks given to POWs; these cards could be moistened and peeled apart to reveal escape maps.
In May 2011, Marc Hill was named president of The United States Playing Cards Company. In October 2011, the United States Playing Card Company in a partnership with Encore Software announced that they are launching the 2012 Hoyle product line - Hoyle Card Games 2012, Hoyle Casino Games 2012 and Hoyle Puzzle & Board Games 2012.