First issued in 1893. Discontinued soon after. This
is a scarce deck in any color. I have never seen it in brown or green and red or blue decks are
very hard to come by. Angel is one of several Bicycle back designs that do not feature bicycles or
This deck was issued in two variants, pictured
below in higher resolution. The reverse of each card is pictured below it. I don't know why or when the
back design was changed, but the creation of new printing plates often resulted in minor changes to Bicycle
back designs. Mrs. Robinson only pictured the second variant in
her Bicycle Card booklet.
Note that a third, more ornate variant of the
Angel back was issued first as an early version of the Russell and Morgan Printing Company's No.
303 Army & Navy deck. See the scan of that back, along with its matching ace of spades, below. Also
pictured is the same back in an image from "Popular Games of Cards," a USPC promotional booklet from
The next image, below, shows two Angel back designs
from other manufacturers. All were working with essentially the same design elements. The next image
is of the United States Printing Company's Ivory Whist Angel back, which was a narrower version of
the Bicycle Angel design. The Angel back, in all of its iterations, was well loved in the 1880's and 1890's.
The last image, below, is from a Universal Playing Card Co.
catalogue in the collection of a Japanese collector, Kei Izumi. Several of the backs in Universal's
extensive offerings bear a striking resemblance (or are identical) to USPCC back designs. The image below shows
their adaptation of an Angel Back design. In this case, the design most closely resembles the Consolidated Card
Company's Bee Angel. Also see the Club,
Nautic pages for more images from this interesting catalogue.
A red Angel single, identical to the red back design below,
sold for $67 on eBay on June 18, 2015. Interestingly, a blue Angel single offered by the same dealer, matching the
equally scarce blue back below, only fetched $31 (although still a healthy sum for a single card).