While the trump indicator may seem confusing at first glance, the icons of the suits: hearts, spades, aces, and clubs indicate that the trump indicator is intended to accompany a deck of cards.
Card games were the core source of entertainment in households and at parties during the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. This meant that they were much more important to households than they are generally considered now, and naturally attracted more accessories than they typically do today.
The accessories which were used in these games became luxury objects in themselves, and for those who could afford them, materials like mother of pearl and silver were used in the creation of these objects. From scoring pads and rule books, to card shufflers and trump indicators, these accoutrements were a representation of sophistication and wealth.
Because items like this are so rarely used now, they have become highly collectable and are sought after as novelty pieces.
The History of Trump Indicators…
The trump indicator is used when playing whist. Whist is a game which is similar to the modern version of bridge; however in whist the last card dealt determines the trump suit. This is made clear to players via the dealer turning over the final card, face-up, before then adding the card to their hand. The issue was, with this sequence, that players then easily forgot the trump suit.
Over time, approximately at the end of the 19th century, Whist players took it upon themselves to create playing card trump indicators. A trump indicator being a device placed on the card table, indicating the current trump suit for the benefit of players.
The side of the dice which reads ‘No Trumps’ indicates that the hand is played without a trump suit.
The Different Designs & Styles…
The earliest trump indicators and trump markers were created with wood and porcelain, and later, as technology advanced, Bakelite and plastic materials became more commonly used to create these games accessories, making them more durable. It is
unusual to find trump dice which incorporate silverware as our fine example does.
Furthermore, the trump marker which we are able to offer our customers is especially large, suggesting that it is a piece which was created to be displayed and admired, as much as to be used within a card game.
The style of trump markers has little variation, as they follow a fairly simple form and the text or symbols on the die are always the same. However, the greatest variation between the die is usually the style of text which is used, and this is often the best way to age the die to a particular time; such as the Victorian or Art Deco era.