Introduced in 1904. Discontinued in 1918. It's hard
to believe this design ran for fourteen years; the only singles I have seen are from salesman's
sample books. I have one complete red deck, which is the only one I've ever seen.
While there is occasional repetition of some of the
little odd-shaped dots and patterns, I have tried and failed to find any hint of symmetry in the
pattern of this back. It appears to be largely random, and the individual elements are unlike any
snowflake I have ever seen.
A collector friend writes, "I have a sample book that
probably represents the 1918 edition, based upon the latest back design copyright of 1917. What I found
interesting here is that Snowflake, Star
Plaid No. 1, Tri-Plaid and
Western Plaid were all available
simultaneously under both Bicycle and their Army & Navy #3032 brand, all in red and blue."
The final image below shows an early Russell & Morgan
square-cornered faro deck that features a very similar patterned snowflake back design. It can be found in
the Hochman Encyclopedia of American Playing Cards, identified as US11.
A pair of singles from a salesman's sample book, Snowflake
and Coral (later known as Twig), sold
on eBay for $126 on February 27, 2017. Given the rarity of both of these back designs, that was not an
unreasonable hammer price (see the Snowflake sample, below).