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Hurrah! For almost two years we have striven to complete a collection of four queens, searching through many, many, collections on a regular basis, with condition being the primary obstacle, and then a short time ago, we managed to gather the most difficult of the quartet, a Cleo de Merode Queen of Hearts, into the fold.

Finally, the four glamorous artistes who in many ways best represent the theatrical romance of the Belle Epoque era are together in our shop. This little set has been our "Maltese Falcon" for some time now, and it gives us great pleasure to share it with you :)

First, Cleo De Merode, clearly the most beloved today of all the Belle Epoque artistes, pictured as the Queen of Hearts. How could it be otherwise?

Our personal favorite, The Queen of Clubs, Mlle. Saharet, can-can dancer extraordinaire, who, if the stories we read are true, began her stage career while little more than a child, along the rough and tumble Barbary Coast of San Francisco, California.

The Queen of Diamonds, Signorina Lina Cavalieri, was for very good reason hailed as the most beautiful woman in the world, but diamonds were her undoing, or so the story goes, as she was tragically killed in an allied bombing raid during WWII, while attempting to rescue her prized jewels from her palatial residence.

Finally, La Belle Otero. The Queen of Spades indeed. The suit of spades corresponds to that of swords in the tarot deck, often considered the most ill omen-ed of the four suits. La Senorita Otero invented a romantic past to mask a humble and tragic childhood. Her path to great success was certainly not an easy one. Probably the most notorious of the four ladies, she is the only one numbered among les Grandes Trois, or les Grandes Horizontales, the titles applied to the three great courtesans of the period. And speaking of swords, legend has it that more than a few men lost their lives in duels, or suicide, for want of her love.

Please examine these cards carefully. Note their condition. With the exception of some very minor age spotting on the reverse sides, these are as close to being in pristine condition as any we have found. Our fantasy is that some enthusiastic collector will mount them in a sumptuously gilded frame, behind some bevel cut matte board and heavy glass, so that as a collection, they are given their due. We were tempted to do this ourselves, and then to offer them up in that state, but thought it was probably better to let whoever makes them their own decide how best to preserve and display them.

As you can see, we are placing a premium value on these four ladies, but we are, frankly, in no hurry to part with them, because when they're gone, we'll have to begin that long, long search, all over again :)

If you're are interested in purchasing this collection, please convo us requesting scans of the three backsides we didn't have room to show in this listing. They are all in pretty much identical condition, except for the Cleo card, which is practically spotless.
Please examine our high res scans for detail.

Postage is for first class shipping in a secure photo mailer, and we happily combine shipping on all paper goods. If you purchase two cards, we will refund the postage on the second card, and when you purchase three or more cards from us at the same time, your shipping will be entirely free, except for international orders which, because of sudden increases in international shipping rates will still be charged one card's shipping fees on orders of three or more.

And please come visit our blog at:


where we post biographical and historical tidbits, images of cards and photographs for sale, some already sold but remembered fondly, related images of historical interest and sometimes even images of items that have not yet arrived in the shop, but that are expected to arrive soon, as well as coupon codes, links to other related sites, and more!

The Four Queens of Belle Epoque Paris. Playing Card Images, circa 1900


  • Vintage item from 1900 - 1909
  • Ships worldwide from United States
  • Feedback: 1536 reviews
  • Favorited by: 7 people