The Coronation Deck was a standard 52-card deck of French-suited playing cards released to celebrate the coronation of Frieda Jacobs as the first Queen of The United Kingdom of Wonderland. Though it was just one of eleven such decks released quinquennially over the 51 years of Jacobs’ reign, the Coronation Deck is the most sought-after of the bunch.
Featuring the likeness of Jacobs herself as the Queen of Hearts, the Coronation Deck is notable for being the only one of the Quinquennial Decks to include portraits of non-Wonderlandians on its face cards. Some historians believe that the decisions made by the deck’s designers—decisions over which Edenian heads of state to include and which to omit—contributed directly to the outbreak of the War of Western Aggression.
French-suited playing cards arrived from Earth as a result of The Calamity and quickly became popular amongst Edenians during The Second Age. In the lead-up to Frieda Jacobs’ coronation, seizing on the ubquity of the game throughout the Edenian south, Jacobs’ grandmother (Charlotte Goose) commissioned the creation of the deck. But though it was obvious who would be the face of the suit of Hearts, the designers asked Goose whether the face cards for the other suits should be generic or based on other real-world figures.
Goose’s response, that she trusted the gentlemen’s judgement wholly and completely, is infamous amongst scholars who believe that war could have been averted if she’d simply made the decision herself and not trusted it to two artisans with penchant for rabble-rousing.
The deck’s designers—a pair of proud Promiselanders—looked at the fact that there were three suits left to fill but four Edenian nations to potentially represent, and opted to omit the often antagonistic Ninth Empire of Oz. Oz’s continued incursions into Promiseland were a sore spot for the deck’s designers and they sought to send a message. They gave the tiny nation of The Garden representation in their creation instead of the much larger Ninth Empire, and the rest is history.
Though there many other factors contributed to the outbreak of the War of Western Aggression, this deck of cards is perhaps the most odd and the most interesting.