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Astronomia: Beautiful 184-year-old card game
10.29.2013
11:53 am

Topics:
Art
Games

Tags:
Astronomia
title

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It’s surprising that someone at U.S. Games Systems hasn’t reissued the obscure Astronomia card deck, an astronomically themed Victorian Georgian card game published in 1829. Surely someone should have turned it into a Tarot deck or children’s educational video or board game by now. Zazzle sells clocks, iPhone covers, Nook decals, handtowels, notebook covers, and other items featuring the Luna card image, but not the actual cards. Mostly intact decks cost thousands of dollars, but curious as I am, I don’t want to learn how to play the game that badly.

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The George Glazer Gallery describes an available $2400 deck:

A highly sought-after astronomically based card game, Astronomia, with beautiful illustrations by Henry Courbould, was created by F.G. Moon in 1829. Deck of educational astronomy cards pertaining to the solar system. Zodiac constellations, planets, the sun, comets, and asteroids are decoratively and scientifically rendered in shades of black and white as if the night sky were being viewed through a draped window flanked by pillars.

Bonhams Auctioneers described a similar lot in a catalog listing, which sold for $903 two years ago:

An attractive and scarce pack of cards on an astronomical theme. The pack is divided into the four seasons: Summer (pink, Autumn (yellow), Winter (white) and Spring (blue). The zodiacal sign cards of or a greater value than the other cards. The suits are made up as follows: Spring- Aries, Luna, Jupiter, Saturn, Herschel, Tellus, Venus, Mars, Mercury, Pallas, Juno, Ceres, Vesta. The remaining suits are composed in the same way, except for the first two cards: Summer: Cancer, The Sun; Autumn: Libra, The Comet; Winter: Capricorn, The Orbits.

More scans of the cards can be seen here.

Posted by Kimberly J. Bright

 

 

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