Playing cards once had 5 suits

Posted Mar 12, 2016 by Tim Sandle
Playing many card games, beyond snap, is quite challenging. And this is just with 52 cards divided into four suits. Imagine playing with five suits and 65 cards? This was tried in the 1930s.
According to the website ShortList, back in the 1930s the he United States Playing Card Company introduced a 5th suit in its 65-card deck. This fact itself is taken from Hoyle's Modern Encyclopedia of Card Games: Rules of All the Basic Games and Popular Variations.
So what was the symbol added to hearts, spades, diamonds and spades? The symbol selected was an eagle. As for the color, green was chosen (a medium green and the pips in the corners were inside green circles.) This was for the U.S. Oddly, for the British version a blue crown was used.
Playing instructions were issued for games of bridge and poker. The idea behind the five-suit cards came from a Viennese psychologist named Walter Marseille, who had the intention of making card games more interesting. Marseille was a leader in the progressive education movement and he attempted to promote the idea of world government during the 1950s, working alongside physicist Albert Einstein and philosopher Bertrand Russell.
Five-suit cards did not prove popular. For instance, Life magazine wrote in 1938: "The brain cells of average bridge fans are sorely taxed by the strain of 52 cards and four suits through the complex sequence of play. To players with durable memories the new game offers a challenge, to others a high hurdle."
By World War II the cards were no longer being manufactured. Packs from the era are popular with collectors, and can exchange for several hundred dollars.