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1883 Murphy Varnish Transformation Standard Playing Cards USPCC

$9.99 USD
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1883 Murphy Varnish Transformation Standard Playing Cards USPCC

$9.99 USD

1883 Murphy Varnish Transformation Standard Playing Cards

The Standard: A recreation of the original in a modern tuck box. The original had a blank back, but for the standard the front and back of the tuck will be identical. 

-Replica of Tuck Box 

-Custom Stamp Seal 

-Linoid Finish 

-Bee Stock 

The Murphy Varnish Transformation Playing Cards were originally printed in 1883 by Andrew Dougherty. It was an advertising deck for the Murphy Varnish company from Newark New Jersey. The Murphy Varnish company was founded in 1865 by Franklin Murphy, the former Governor of New Jersey.   

In a transformation deck there are unique pictures on each card intertwined with the pips, Clubs, Diamonds, Spades, & Hearts. As an advertising deck it depicts comical pictures of varnish salesmen, people worshiping cans of varnish and all of the good uses for the Murphy Varnish.   

In the Hochman Encyclopedia of Playing Cards it is listed as both a transformation deck and as an advertising deck. The deck is so popular it is actually on the cover of the Hochman encyclopedia of American Playing Cards.

Last two pictures compare the originals to the restored version.

Customer Reviews

Based on 5 reviews
Steve Bacon
Spelling Error?

This is a wonderful facsimile edition of one of the great decks in the history of American playing cards. However, it needs to be said that the spelling of "Murphy" on the horizontal advertising across the center of the Queen of Hearts card is incorrect. For some reason, "Murphy" is spelled "Murhpy." Perhaps this is intentional, but if so, it is hard to understand why and perhaps should have been explained/disclosed. The original from 1883 does not contain this misspelling.

Sets the standard in transformation decks!

It's hard to imagine that this deck originated back in the 1800s. Now recreated by modern technology, the masses could enjoy this unique piece of playing card history. This is an affordable deck of cards that handles well and is just a joy to look at. If you don't have any transformation decks, this is definitely one to start off with. Enjoy a piece of history!


I want to buy some Murphy Varnish now, after going through this deck. Not sure if that can be accomplished, but what a deck! Quite fond of this, immediately a fan of transformation decks, and this one is very well done. The clever designs are great.

Daniel R.
5 stars just for the artwork!

An article on boardgamegeek that featured this deck is what led me to this website and this was one of my first purchases. And it's worth every penny! The unique art for each card makes every dealt hand a joy as you stop to scrutinize the details on each card. The deck engenders a lot of conversation at the table, I've found that the first game is usually interrupted with players showing each other cards they find very clever! A real conversation piece! One gripe, I did find the quality a bit subpar, a few games in and already I'm finding some clumping but the clever design will keep the rating at the top.

Great replica of a famous transformation deck

This is a high quality replica of a 19th century deck originally created to promote Murphy Varnish. It is a famous transformation deck, which means that each card features clever artwork that incorporates the pips as part of a larger picture, which in this case is both entertaining and ingenious! One of my all-time favourite transformation decks, and great modern quality.

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