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Over the weekend I picked up a deck of cards that was originally intended to advertise the 'Page Woven Wire Fence'. Each card has 4 little phrases on it about the company or the product.

Each card has a number from 1 to 13 in the upper left and right corner (same number in both corners). There are apparently 4 cards of each number (I've got a couple of numbers that are missing a card, but I assume that they are just lost). Some cards (I think it's one of each number) have a number of miles at the top center. The others in that number have a leaf in the top center.

I feel certain that this was meant as a game, with the idea being to put the company's products in front of the prospective purchasers regularly, but I'm not familiar with the game.

I'd like to properly identify it, just for my own edification.

A scan of some of the cards.

Some potentially relevant facts: Page Woven Wire Fence Company was established in 1886 (Scanned Catalog) and one of the cards (not shown in the picture) indicates that the company is less than 10 years old, making the deck no later than 1896. Another card (in the picture) says business doubled in 1894 over 1893, so I peg the deck's design at 1895.

UPDATE: As noted in the comment by SQB, the deck could certainly be used to play Go Fish. But that wouldn't explain the 'Mileage' notations. I wonder if it could be something like a precursor to Touring? I've found the patent for Touring, but it doesn't list any pre-cursors, though with the patent date of 1906, I wouldn't be shocked if it were an improvement (by adding the various hindrances) of a prior game.

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Looks like Go Fish / Happy Families to me. Found some cards on eBay. –  SQB Jun 5 '14 at 8:31
    
Could the mileages be the names of the families, perhaps? Are they unique for each number? Also, I noticed that the mileage in the title returned in the text on the card with nr 13. Does that happen for other numbers as well? –  SQB Aug 14 '14 at 10:39
    
Any chance of scanning and posting all available cards? –  SQB Aug 14 '14 at 10:40
    
@SQB - OK, the scans are kind of big, and due to hosting limits, I can't put them into one monster zip, so you'll have to grab each tif individually from kohne.org/page-woven-wire-fence-company-card-game. –  Michael Kohne Aug 16 '14 at 18:51
    
I've also pushed the scans up to the Internet archive at archive.org/details/PageWireFenceCards –  Michael Kohne Jan 4 at 19:35

1 Answer 1

The card you are missing is

1 (rose) 1 The Officers The Factory The Page Woven Wire Fence Co The Business

After studying the cards, I have come to the conclusion that the order of the titles on each card is irrelevant. I do believe that the purpose of the game is to match the numbers by drawing from a deck. It would be simple, of course. Discard 1 card, draw 1 card or take the top card of the discard pile. When you have 4 of a kind, you place them down face up and replenish your hand. When the deck runs out of cards, the discard pile will be shuffled and play will continue until no more new cards may be drawn.

Now, the miles on top of the cards represent contracts that were made with the Page Woven Wire Fence Co. in 1894 (actual contracts). The purpose of the game would logically be to collect the most mileage of fence.

The item you have is very likely highly valuable, and I doubt no more than 20 copies were produced (6 is my actual estimate).

The game can be played without the 1 set if you intend to actually play.

The game was apparently created to offer insight on the company to potential clients.

I hope this has proven to be helpful to you. I also hope I am accurate, as much of what I said was speculation (albeit speculation based on several hours studying the cards and the company).

Value of the antique? Without the card I mentioned, probably 700 dollars. If you find a copy of that card, you could probably double that. Maybe push to triple.

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Do you have a source for any of this? –  bwarner Jan 23 at 15:19
    
For the appraisal? That is what I would pay to own such a treasure, as the owner of a Game Shop (Overdrive Games and Anime Shoppe). As for the rulings, I spent several days mulling over the cards, researching the company and practicing theories. I didn't expect to be asked for sources, so I do not have them, but it was not too hard to find the answers once I determined the logical course of research. This is sort of what I do. As for the rulings, that was the only resolution I had after determining that each number uses the same 4 titles recurring, but in no particular order. –  Overdrive Games Jan 24 at 9:01
    
I'm just genuinely curious where one goes for answers about antique games like this, especially ones from the 19th century. –  bwarner Jan 25 at 0:56
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Well, I have spent years creating and studying formulas for games, as well as studying games of varying age and complexity. When studying such things, I would always buy items like what the original poster has shared with us. My shop sees 2 or 3 people a week just walking in to ask questions about old games that they possess, so I spend a lot of time doing research to assist them. Usually they want to know prices, but sometimes I have to reverse engineer game mechanics for weeks to identify the rules of a game. Most info can be attained through common sense and context clues, but some can't. –  Overdrive Games Jan 25 at 13:54

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