This Halloween tally card is by The Gibson Art Company of Cincinnati (aka Gibson & Company, Lithographers, aka Gibson Greeting Card Co., aka Gibson Greetings, Inc., now a brand owned by American Greetings Corporation, Inc.) The Gibson brothers started producing cards in the 1860s. During the 1920s and early 1930s, according to Mark Ledenbach, Gibson “was a worthy competitor” of Beistle and Dennison—”the two bigger firms”—producing gorgeous Halloween diecuts, decorations etc.
This tally card is from Gibson’s Halloween heyday: the mid-1920s. Slightly more glam than the witch in last week’s Halloween Party Invitation, the cheerful witch depicted here has a shiny red bob and only a hint of curls. On the back of the card there you can see that these cards there is room for a table number, couple number, and name: these tally cards were for a large party! There is space for a dozen scores (i.e. it is a 12 count tally card), probably for Bridge, although it is possible they were used for other card-games (500, Canasta, Euchre, Rummy, who knows!).
The tally cards are 155 x 100mm (6 x 4 inches); they were sold in boxes of fifty, half of the cards in each box having yellow strings attached to the top, the other half black. “The Gibson Line” product code is “1723″ and the product name: “Hallowe’en Tally Cards”. I know this because the person selling the lot of four I bought on eBay had the original box. He didn’t mention this, so you can imagine my surprise (and horror) when the cards turned up in an eighty-year old box completely covered in 21st-century sticky-tape. Unfortunately, the only way I could get the cards out of the box was by removing the tape, which ruined the original product labels etc. Since there was no packing inside the box, three of the four cards were also pretty mangled in transit. The one card that survived its imbecile of a vendor does, however, look great. So, cards anyone?