Queen Victoria, wedding deck. 1836
De la Rue. 52 cards 3rd design courts of 1836 but this pack was made in 1839 to celebrate the marriage of Victoria and Albert, whose coat's of arms adorns the backs (in gold leaf). There was a double ended pack made for the “Great Exhibition”of 1851 which was withdrawn at the Queen's request and not sold on the open market. (See article in “The Playing Card” March 2005.) Apart from being double ended it was an exact copy of this single ended pack. In 'The house of Del La Rue' published on their one hundred and twenty fifth anniversary in 1957, it confirms this saying the design was “Reserved by Royal Command”. There are other single ended packs with this back design, V&A museum has one and Kaplan sold a pack in his 2002 auction. However both those packs are narrow decks, making the coat of arms oval as opposed to this original wider deck with the much more circular coat of arms. Also this pack is the only one I know of with the striking aqua blue colour on the backs. They are slightly smudged where the backs have rubbed but I doubt they have ever been used.
Dating packs from this time can be a bit confusing as it reads HIS MAJESTY'S PATENT on the ace. This refers to William the 4th, the previous monarch, and was left on the ace of spades on cards for several years after Victoria's coronation by specific command of the queen as a tribute to her Uncle. Free postage to uk only