Introduced in 1905. Discontinued in 1917. Sprocket No. 2 is slightly less common than its predecessor, Sprocket No. 1, but complete decks are still relatively easy to find.

The first row of cards, above, represents a variant of the Sprocket back that is not listed in Mrs. Robinson's Bicycle Playing Card pamphlet. We shall call it Sprocket No. 2a due to its strong similarity to Sprocket No. 2. It was issued in 1904, based on the the fact that the card shown below is a US8d high-hat joker. This must have been a first attempt at a design for Sprocket No. 2. It's rarity suggests that it was quickly scrapped, most likely because No. 2a features five, not six, rings on the central sprocket, rendering the design asymmetrical from top to bottom. None of the redesigns of early Bicycle backs perpetuated the mistake of making them one way (or at least not in such an overt way). This deck would have been an exception to that rule. See a comparison between Sprocket 2 and 2a, below.

Why does symmetry in playing cards even matter? Magicians and most poker players know that a deck with a one-way back design allows a card to be easily found in the pack simply by turning it in the opposite direction to all of the other cards. This is not possible with a perfectly symmetrical deck of cards, which is why USPCC worked hard to update almost all their Bicycle back designs to be entirely symmetrical. See the League back page for more on this subject.

A blue US8c Sprocket No. 2 ace of spades sold for $60 on eBay on July 27, 2016.

  67. Sprocket No. 1                                          69. Stag  


On the left is Sprocket No. 2. Note the five rings in the center of Sprocket No. 2a.