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Playing cards have been with us since the 14th century, when they first became a part of popular culture, perhaps seen as a miniature representation of the world. Over the centuries packs of cards have been used for games, gambling, education, advertising, fortune telling and even to spread political messages. The most interesting aspect is the artwork and graphic design which is sometimes overlooked, an exposition of artistic expression and visual poetry.

Editor’s Picks

Playing cards have enormous educational value, with a long history and many diverse types and graphical styles from around the world... View More →

La Zoologie

“La Zoologie” No.335 card game by B. Dondorf, c.1910

Stefans Bercs, 1923

In 1923 a competition was announced for a new Latvian pack. Stefans Bercs was the winner...

Naipes Nacionales, Mexico

Naipes Nacionales designed by Manuel Bayardi and published by Clemente Jacques y Cia, Mexico c.1940


East Slavonic Mythology

East Slavonic Mythology designed by Aleksey Orleansky (1994) featuring creatures from the watery underworld

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Grupo Editorial RAF, Mexico

Grupo Editorial RAF S.A.

Esveco Specialities B.V.

Alto Imaging Group playing cards manufactured by Esveco Specialities B.V., c.1990s

Card Fabrique Company

Card Fabrique Company had connections with several other manufacturers and their complete history is yet to be unravelled.

Souvenir

A treasury of miniature art, graphic design and self-expression from different periods and locations around the world. View More →

Cyprus Souvenir

Cyprus souvenir playing cards showing scenes alluding to ancient history and myths

Fenno Peru souvenir cards

Fenno souvenir playing cards, made in Peru

Wildlife Playing Cards, India

World Wide Fund for Nature-India Playing Cards

Swiss Album patience

Swiss Album patience

Political

Propaganda cards, war cards and even educational cards all carry a political message... View More →

Victory Deck, Leipzig 1815

Victory deck commemorating the Liberation war by Friedrich Gotthelf Baumgärtner, Leipzig, 1815

Naipes Artiguistas

Naipes Artiguistas, Entre Rios (Argentina), 1816

International Playing Cards

For the marriage of Alfred, Duke of Edinburgh and Princess Alexandra of Russia on 23 January 1874.

Knavery of the Rump, 1679

The Knavery of the Rump playing cards are a satirical portrayal of Cromwell's Government during the period 1648-53

Ireland: Celtic Journey

Celtic Journey playing cards, where art and culture meet - designed by Carmen G. Carballeira.

Watersprite Tarot

Alison McDonald's Watersprite Tarot cards, 2012

The Big Deal, Cook Islands

Patia Te Pere - The Big Deal

Quantum

Quantum playing cards were designed by Catherine Geaney in 2010 for her final year at college.

Cartas Blancas

Cartas Blancas Self-improvement playing cards

Art Deco Gypsy Oracle

Art Deco fortune telling deck dated 1936.

Self-Nurturing Solitaire

Self-Nurturing Solitaire

Tarots Egipcios Kier

"Tarots Egipcios" was first published by Editorial Kier S.A. in c.1971 with Spanish titles & booklet explaining the cabbalistic meanings of the cards.

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