Congress Playing Cards

Congress playing cards were first printed in 1881 by the Russell & Morgan Co. (later USPCC). There were two types, stock number 404 (plain edges, discontinued sometime after 1893), and stock number 606 (gold edges). “Wide” or “poker” sized decks were the norm until 1922, when bridge replaced whist (606W, whist size, 1910s-1920s) as the card game of choice. Congress rode this new wave and switched to “narrow”, or “bridge” sized decks and never looked back.

Congress playing cards are still being printed to this day, but only for custom orders. It has long been believed that the entire brand was moved to Spain, but that does not seem to be the case. Printing was simultaneously done in the United States and Spain at some point, presumably around the end of the 1980s or the early 1990s. Mass production was halted somewhere around the mid-2000s. The brand has not officially been discontinued as of this writing, per Cartamundi. So technically the Congress brand is the longest-running and only original brand still made by the United States Playing Card Company (1881-present). The famous Bicycle 808 brand is second (1885-present).

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