Introduced in 1885. Discontinued in 1894. Relatively
easy to find in red or blue, even in its earliest variants. Singles in all four colors are available,
too, but expect to pay a premium for the brown and green ones. A green single card sold for
$78 on eBay on June 9, 2016. We'll see what a brown one fetches...
A collector once asked me why this back was called
"Old Fan." This made me realize that it was not obvious to everyone that the design
incorporates a Japanese style fan. I sent him a scan of the card with the fan highlighted, as
seen in the first image, below.
Old Fan is a product of an interest in
Japanese themes during the Victorian era, which was manifested in what became known as
the Anglo-Japanese style. This style can be found in china, silver, tiles, wallpaper and other
decorative objects from the time. See a few examples of other Anglo-Japanese playing card
designs below, all of which feature the ever-popular Japanese fan.
The last image is a comparison with the Bicycle Expert
back. This is the only instance I can think of where one Bicycle design was pirated for another. The
Expert back, in turn, was copied in a couple of Chas. Goodall designs in the United Kingdom, as shown
on the Expert
A red US8 Old Fan ace of spades sold on eBay for $76 on
June 16, 2017.