foreword to the online edition
II. common sharpers and their tricks
III. marked cards and the manner of their employment
VII. collusion and conspiracy
VIII. the game of faro
IX. prepared cards
XI. high ball poker
XII. roulette and allied games
XIII. sporting houses
XIV. sharps and flats
SHARPS AND FLATS
MARKED CARDS AND THE MANNER OF THEIR EMPLOYMENT
§ E -- Shading and tint-marking
Manufactured cards having fallen into comparative desuetude, the
reasonable inference is that they have been supplanted by something
better; and such is the fact. In the hands of the best men they
have been superseded by genuine cards, marked (generally by the
sharp himself) either with 'shading' or 'line-work.'
The earliest method of shading, so far as can be ascertained, consisted
of the application to plain-backed cards of an even tint which,
being rendered more or less deep, denoted the values of certain
cards. This tint was produced by rubbing the card with a rag, lightly
impregnated with plumbago, until the required depth of tint was
obtained. This imperfect method, however, has gradually developed
into others which can hardly be said to leave anything to be desired-at
least from the sharp's point of view.
At the present time shading is principally confined, if not entirely
so, to ornamental backs. It is effected by applying a faint wash
of color to a fairly large portion of the card. This color of course
must be one which approximates to the tint of the card, and further,
it must be one which will dry without removing the glaze.
Just as there has been continual warfare between the makers of
heavy guns and the inventors of armor-plating, so there has been
a long struggle between the playing-card manufacturer and the professional
gambler. Whilst the latter has been engaged in the endeavor to concoct
a stain with which he could shade his cards without spoiling the
enamel or altering the color, the former has done his best to circumvent
the sharp's endeavors by compounding the glaze of ingredients which
will spoil the 'little game.' For some time the manufacturer triumphed,
and it became known that Hart's red 'Angel-backs' were unstainable.
Alas! however, vice and, shall we say science was victorious, and
one can now buy a fluid warranted to stain any card for a mere trifle.
These fluids are nothing more than solutions in spirit of various
aniline dyes. For red, aurosine is used, and for blue aniline blue.
Stafford's red ink, diluted with spirit, produces a perfect stain
for red cards. Others as good can be made with the 'Diamond' dyes.
A suitable solution having been obtained, the cards are shaded,
either by putting a wash over a certain spot or by washing over
the whole of the back with the exception of one spot. The latter
method is the better of the two in many respects, as the cards can
be distinguished at a distance of two or three yards, and yet will
bear the strictest examination, even at the hands of one who understands
the former method. In fact, the closer one looks at the cards the
less likely one is to discover the mark, or, as the sharp would
say, to 'tumble' to the 'fake.'
The directions for use issued with the shading fluids will be found
on page 302.
As the delicate tints of shaded work are lost in reproduction,
satisfactory examples cannot be given.
On the opposite page, however, will be found an illustration of
one method of shading the familiar 'angel-hack' card represented
in fig. 11.
The shading in fig. It has been considerably exaggerated, to render
The little 'angel' (a, fig. 11) is made to indicate the value of
the cards by shading the head for an ace; the right wing for a king;
the left wing for a queen; the right arm for a knave, and so on.
The two is not marked.
FIG. 11 -- Angel-back
The suit of the card is denoted by shading various pornons of the
foliated design adjacent to the 'angel' (b, fig- 11).
With the exception of the exaggerated shading, these marks are facsimiles of those upon a pack purchased from one of the dealers, all of
whom supply them. Although the cards can be bought ready shaded, most sharpers prefer to do them for themselves. Therefore, they merely buy
the marking- fluids, and invent their own marks.