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Ace of Spades
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For other uses, see Ace of Spades (disambiguation).
An Ace of Spades playing card.The Ace of Spades is commonly thought of as the highest-ranking card in the deck of playing cards, although the actual value of the card varies from game to game.
3 Ace of Spades in Popular Culture
5 External links
The ornate design of the Ace of Spades, common in packs today, stems from the 18th Century, when certain duties on playing cards were exacted by the monarchy. Stamp duty, an idea imported to England by William III, was extended to playing cards in 1711; this taxation lasted until 1960.
Over the years a number of methods were used to show that duty had been paid. From 1712 onwards, one of the cards in the pack, usually the Ace of Spades, was marked with a hand stamp. In 1765 hand stamping was replaced by the printing of official Ace of Spades by the Stamp Office, incorporating the royal coat of arms. In 1828 the Duty Ace of Spades (known as 'Old Frizzle') was printed to indicate a reduced duty of a shilling had been paid.
The system was changed again in 1862 when official threepenny duty wrappers were introduced and although the makers were free to use whatever design they wanted, most chose to keep the ornate Ace of Spades that is popular today. The Ace of Spades is thus used to show the card manufacturer's information.
The Ace of Spades has been employed, on numerous occasions, in the theatre of war. In the Second World War, the soldiers of the 506th Parachute Infantry Regiment of the American 101st Airborne Division were marked with the spades symbol painted on the sides of their helmets. In this capacity, it was used to represent good luck, due to its fortunate connotations in card playing. All four card suits were used for ease of identification of regiments within the airborne division following the confusion of a large scale combat airborne operation. Battalions within the regiments were denoted with tic marks or dots, marked from top clockwise; Headquarters at the twelve o'clock position, 1st Battalion at the three o'clock, et cetera.
Some twenty years later, the Ace of Spades was again used by American soldiers — this time as a psychological weapon in the Vietnam War. US troops erroneously believed that Vietnamese ancient traditions held the symbolism of the spade to mean death and ill-fortune and in a bid to scare away NLF soldiers without firefight, it was common practice to leave an Ace of Spades on the bodies of killed Vietnamese and even to litter the forested grounds and fields with the card. This custom was erroneously believed to be so effective, that the Bicycle Playing Cards company was asked to supply crates of that single card in bulk. The crates were often marked with "Bicycle Secret Weapon".
Selection from US Army footage 'Operation Baker' showing US soldiers putting 'Ace of Spades' in dead NLF mouths
US Army footage from 'Operation Baker' 1967 showing US troops putting Ace of Spades in mouths of dead VietCong/NLF
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The Ace of Spades, while not a symbol of superstitious fear to the NLF, did help the morale of American soldiers. It was not unheard of for US soldiers and Marines to stick this card in their helmet band as a sort of anti-peace sign.
More recently, in 2003 a deck of Most-wanted Iraqi playing cards issued to U.S. soldiers during Operation Iraqi Freedom; each card had the picture of a wanted Iraqi official on it. Saddam Hussein got the nickname "Ace of Spades" as his was the face which adorned that card.
 Ace of Spades in Popular Culture
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The heavy metal band Motörhead's has a song called "Ace of Spades" (in the album of the same title).
In Robert Louis Stevenson's story "The Suicide Club" (1878), the Ace of Spades functions as the "sign of death" within a secret society whose members commit "suicide" by submitting to be killed, if they draw the Ace of Spades from a pack of 52 cards during a club meeting, by another member drawing the Ace of Clubs.
In the film Toy Story 2, Mr. Potato Head and Hamm the pig, play a card game composed of Ace of Spades cards. This comes before Woody had a dream that his child owner Andy Davis abandons him for being broken. Woody falls in a vortex full of Aces of Spades, falls through one of the spades, and lands in a trash can under a spade-shaped beam of light.
The Ace of Spades is featured in the end of George Orwell's Animal Farm when Mr. Pilkington and Napoleon the pig play the card against each other during a card game and start to argue.
In the episode Pray Anything of The Simpsons, traffic reporter Arnie Pie claims that local reporter Kent Brockman's soul is as black as the Ace of Spades.
The phrase black as the ace of spades is very commonly used, referring to objects, the sky at night, or a person of African descent with very dark skin. This is the origin of the racial epithet "spade."
Luke Cage considered calling himself "The Ace Of Spades" before choosing "Power Man" after a victorious encounter with Iron Man.
A blood-stained Ace of Spades is a symbol in the 2003 film Shade.
There is also a conservative blog called Ace of Spades HQ
The night Cliff Burton of the band Metallica died, he and Kirk Hammett drew cards to see who slept where. Cliff picked the Ace of Spades, won and chose Hammett's bed and ended up flying through the window when the tour bus hit black ice.
The Ace through Ten of Spades serve as the pattern for several iterations of the DC Comics super-villainous Royal Flush Gang.
In the popular game called "Okonkwo" or "Scat", the ace of spades has been nicknamed as the misfiring gun. The misfiring gun originated from the book Things Fall Apart by Chinua Achebe.
The luxury Champagne brand Armand de Brignac was nicknamed "Ace of Spades" by Jay-Z in his song "Show Me What You Got".
JAKQ Dengeki Tai's Red Ranger is called "Spade Ace".
In the game Mercenaries: Playground of Destruction, General Choi Song is represented as the Ace of Spades in the most-wanted deck of 52.
The Character Hot Flashes, in the Wünderland War toy series "the Symptoms" is shown holding out an ace of spades.
In The Book "The Burn Journals", the main character starts a religion where the "Ace of Spades" is God.
In the episode Ballad of Fallen Angels of Cowboy Bebop, while Spike is laying bandaged on the couch of the Bebop and Faye is humming. He makes a comment about her singing off-key and she replies by getting angry, slamming him with a pillow and the deck of cards she was playing solitaire with. He plucks a card off his head to find that it is that Ace of Spades.
Kamen Rider Blade uses the Ace of Spades to transform into his Rider form.
The X Men member Gambit, who's power is supercharging inanimate objects, usually fights using playing cards. The first card he uses from a deck is the Ace of Spades, the last being the Queen of Hearts.
In the game Kane and Lynch, The7, a criminal organisation uses an Ace of Spades with a skull on it as a logo.