The instructions in this classic, 1947 vintage card game carry a copyright of 1919. The version pictured here is likely from around 1947. This is the “Bull and Bear” edition of Pit containing a Bull and a Bear card. The Bull and Bear cards only appear in the “Bull and Bear” edition. However, this Pit Pack can be used in the usual way WITHOUT the Bull and Bear cards if desired. Pit is a fast-paced card game for three to eight players, designed to simulate open outcry bidding for commodities. According to Wikipedia (en. wikipedia.org), the game was developed for Parker Brothers and first sold in 1904. This popular version of the game was developed by Edgar Cayce, who would also become famous for his psychic predictions.
The inspiration was the US Corn Exchange and it was likely based on the very successful game Gavitt’s Stock Exchange, invented in 1903 by Harry E. Gavitt of Topeka, Kansas (and reprinted in 2004 in an authentic “heirloom” edition by Out of the Box Publishing). Versions of the game have been marketed under the names Billionaire, Business, Cambio, Deluxe Pit, Quick 7, and Zaster. This classic original deck contains 74 cards with nine cards each of eight different commodities: flax, hay, oats, rye, corn, barley, and wheat. Also included are the two special cards, the Bull and the Bear.
Some interesting tidbits:
Phrases used during play:
Chasing the bear
When one attempts to follow the progress of the bear after trading it away by watching the following trades.
Going for a hay ride
When one attempts to pick up all of a commodity that one has little of, because one has traded enough of it back and forth that one has an idea where it is all located.
Slip him/her the bull/bear
When one trades away the bull/bear, usually just before the game ends.
A player’s hand.
Inadvertently acquiring an abundance of flax, the commodity with the lowest value.
Cornering the market on flax.
Receipt of the Bear just preceding the ring of the bell to signify the game’s end; doubly nasty if receipt of the Bear was part of the final trade that facilitated the winning hand.