Introduced in 1919. Discontinued in 1943. Like some other decks of this era, Nautic decks are surprisingly difficult to find complete in an original box.

Pictured in the first image, below, is a beautiful joker issued with the U.S. Playing Card Company's Army and Navy deck (described and pictured on page 85 of the Hochman Encyclopedia and designated US5h). Prior to joining the Bicycle family, the Nautic back was featured as a standard issue on both the Army and Navy brand Nos. 303 and 3032, according to sample cards shown in a 1908 sample book. This association provides a reason for a decorative but otherwise non-nautical back design being called "Nautic." [thanks to a fellow collector and frequent contributor for much of this information]

Nautic singles may be from these earlier USPC Army & Navy issues, and not necessarily Bicycle. It's also worth noting that under the former brand, Nautic was issued in green and brown as well as the standard red and blue, but was issued under the Bicycle brand only in red and blue. So, don't be confused by those lovely green and brown Nautic singles--they are not Bicycle cards!

The next image shows a comparison between an interesting Peruvian card I purchased some years ago and the Nautic back. Once again, a standard USPC back design has been modified by another organization, in this case the government of Peru. The quality appears to be identical to a standard Bicycle issue, so it is hard to say whether this back was created for Peru by USPCC or the design was appropriated and printed by another company. But, interesting that the sale of playing cards in Peru benefited national defense!

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 version of the Nautic Back, christened "Buffalo" for no apparent reason. This was one of two of Universal's brands that featured Nautic. Also see the Angel, Club and Expert pages for more images from this interesting catalogue.

A blue US8c Nautic joker sold on eBay for $28.00 on February 22, 2017. A blue US8c Nautic joker sold on eBay for $35 on May 30, 2017.

  54. Motorette No. 2                                     56. New Fan  


The Army and Navy Joker

The card on the right is a standard USPCC Nautic back joker. Between my high school Spanish and Google Translate, the Peruvian card on the left roughly translates as follows:

[obverse]
STATE MONOPOLY OF PLAYING CARDS OF PERU

[reverse]
REPUBLIC OF PERU.
NATIONAL ADMINISTRATION OF COLLECTION.
STATE MONOPOLY OF PLAYING CARDS.

By law No. 4936, of January 30, 1924, the State Monopoly of Playing Cards was created in the Republic, in order to increase the funds for National Defense.

In accordance with this law and the supreme decree of February 16 of the same year, playing cards sold by the State Monopoly department may only circulate in the country on pain of confiscation of the article and a fine of five to fifty Peruvian pounds gold, according to the amount of failure.

Consequently, poker playing cards, like this, may only be used within the Republic of Peru that carry the name of the State Monopoly on their packaging and on the cards corresponding to the Ace of spades and the Joker.

Control of these requirements is a patriotic duty of every citizen, as this contributes to the work of National Defense.


A page from the Universal Playing Card Co. catalogue showing their version of the Nautic Back.