A Playing-card Collector Shows His Hand

 

Albert Field ’38CC was Salvador Dalí’s personal “archivist,” hired to distinguish real Dalís from thousands of fakes. He was also a playing-card collector. Field, who died in 2003, left his collection of 6,400 decks to Columbia. An exhibit of cards spanning four hundred years and four continents will be on display at the Rare Book and Manuscript Library starting September 23.

 

Karata Playing Cards: Colour Print Ltd. Kenya, circa 1970-1985.
Karata Playing Cards: Colour Print Ltd, circa 1970-1985, Kenya.
Albert Field Playing Card Collection, Columbia Rare Book and Manuscript Library

 

Standard deck of playing cards with Italian suits. Ant. Herrl (publisher). Gratz, Austria, 1790.
Standard deck of playing cards with Italian suits, Ant. Herrl (publisher) Gratz, Austria, 1790.
Albert Field Playing Card Collection, Columbia Rare Book and Manuscript Library

 

Baraja Capricho, Enrique Pastor Cortina, artist. Lit. Viuda de Ismael Haase, for Fabrica de Chocolates El Barco. Valencia, Spain, 1875-88.
Baraja Capricho, Enrique Pastor Cortina, artist,  Lit. Viuda de Ismael Haase, for Fabrica de Chocolates El Barco, Valencia, Spain,1875-88.
Albert Field Playing Card Collection, Columbia Rare Book and Manuscript Library

 

Artball, Don Celender (1931-2005), artist. USA, 1972.
Artball, Don Celender (1931-2005), artist, USA, 1972.
Albert Field Playing Card Collection, Columbia Rare Book and Manuscript Library

 

Rock'n Bubble, for Dandy Gum. Netherlands, circa 1986.
Rock'n Bubble, for Dandy Gum, Netherlands, circa 1986
Albert Field Playing Card Collection, Columbia Rare Book and Manuscript Library

 

Eroticartes, J. M. Simon. France, 1983.
Eroticartes, J. M. Simon, France, 1983
Albert Field Playing Card Collection, Columbia Rare Book and Manuscript Library

 

New York City, Standard Playing Card Co. Chicago, 1905. 
New York City, Standard Playing Card Co., Chicago, 1905. Columbia is on the 4 of Diamonds.
Albert Field Playing Card Collection, Columbia Rare Book and Manuscript Library

 

Transformation cards. Germany, 1856. 
Transformation cards from Germany, 1856. Transformation cards were the favorite part of the collection for the donor, Albert Field.
Albert Field Playing Card Collection, Columbia Rare Book and Manuscript Library

 

This article appears in the Fall 2019 print edition of Columbia Magazine with the title "Wild Cards."