While it’s usually the case of people playing cards against each other to win some money, it was an opposite scene at Christie’s New York auction where bidders competed against each other to win a deck of cards. Since the cards were on auction, you would have probably devised that this was no ordinary deck of cards. And right you are, as the deck of cards that had bidders competing against each other at Christie’s sale of Important Silver were made of silver. Michael Frömmer signed the scarce set of German engraved and parcel-gilt silver playing cards, Augsburg, 1616, and fetched a whopping $554,500, doubling its pre-sale estimate of $150,000 – $250,000. Only five sets of silver playing cards are known to survive today, which explains the bidders’ frenzy for acquiring this set.
What further generated interest of the bidders is the fact that the lot on auction is the only complete deck of 52 cards in existence that are engraved in the four Italian suits: swords, batons, cups, and coins, each suite with a king, a knight, a knave, and pip cards ace through ten.
Courtesy this winning price fetched by the silver cards and various other items that fetched way over their estimates (a pair of Victorian silver double-magnum wine coasters with the Arms of Rothschild, bearing the mark of Robert Garrard II, London, 1845. Fetched a cool $158,500), the total sales at the end of this sale by Christie’s reached $3,825,375!