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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, conjuring, advertising, fortune telling, political messages or the portrayal of national or ethnic identity. The most interesting aspect is the imaginative artwork and graphic design which is sometimes overlooked, and the “then & now” aspect of how things have changed.

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 →

Carte per Signora

“Carte per Signora” patience sized pack was produced by Fratelli Armanino, Genova, in c.1897

Wüst: Oval Patience No.240

C. L. Wüst Oval Patience Karten No. 240, beautifully printed by chromolithography, c.1910

Hafez Fortune Telling Cards

Fortune Tellers use the Hafez Cards by interpreting the Hāfez poems printed on the card backs when cards are selected randomly by their consultants.

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Castles Quartet

“Castles” Quartet game from Czechoslovakia with educational text by Ludiše Letošníková and illustrations by Vladimir Kovářík

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Poker Faces

“Poker Faces” playing cards illustrated by Alex Elsen evoking the seedy underworld of organised crime.

Queen of Hearts

“Queen of Hearts” by Josie Callipari, winner of the Brian Tucker Accounting Desert Fantasia Award 2005

SpongeBob SquarePants

SpongeBob SquarePants cartoon playing cards featuring SpongeBob and Patrick the star fish.

Strip Tease

Art Deco 1930s ‘Strip Tease’ card game featuring characters involved in the performance and subsequent prosecution of an imaginary strip tease.

007 Guns & Gadgets

“007 Guns & Gadgets” James Bond themed playing cards printed by Carta Mundi, 2005.

The Simpsons™

The Simpsons is an American animated sitcom depicting dysfunctional American family lifestyle created by Matt Groening for the Fox Broadcasting Company in the late 1980s

Online Shop

A variety of classic, vintage and antique collectible playing cards from around the world to add depth to your collection View More →

Carta Mundi Spanish pattern

£ 7.50

Carta Mundi Spanish Castilian pattern, 1995

Juan Roura: Naipes Finos No.21

£ 32.00

Juan Roura (Barcelona), Naipes Finos No.21, c.1940

Star Wars uncut sheet

£ 25.00

uncut sheet of “STAR WARS Episode 1” playing cards printed by U.S. Playing Card Co., c.1999

Naipe Extra ‘Las Dos Torres’

£ 12.00

​Naipe Extra ‘Las Dos Torres’ manufactured by Pasatiempos Gallo S.A. de C.V., Mexico, c.2002

Disney Collectible Cards

£ 18.00

Uncut sheet of Disney collectable cards printed in Poland by KZWP-Trefl, 2003

Naipes Pierrot-125

£ 8.00

Naipes ‘Pierrot-125’ manufactured by Orpamex, S.A., Mexico, c.2000


Political playing cards were introduced in the 17th century providing entertainment by satirising or deriding current events and leaders. Propaganda cards, war cards and even educational cards all carry a political message... but at this critical time in history people are awakening to a need for global healing which politicians can’t always deliver. View More →

Political Cards

Political Playing Cards, Buenos Aires, 1890

Lithuanian Political Cards

Lithuanian 'Gironda' Political Playing Cards

Hungarian War Aid Cards

Hadsegélyzö Kártya ('War Aid Cards') Nr. 63 designed by Leo Kober and first published by Piatnik, Budapest, in 1917.

Christian IV Anniversary

The anniversary of Christian IV in 1988 was a great event in Denmark for which this special pack of playing cards was published.

Tarot & Fortune Telling

Fortune-telling cards and modern tarot packs have been conjured in a wide variety of conceptions. They involve use of imagination and intuition to assess one’s own thoughts and feelings from the view point of the symbolic images. This is liberating and creative, finding meaning and answers for oneself, rather than having blind faith in religion. Through imagination we can reach the darker regions of the psyche, face our mortality and discover the ethical principles at the heart of religion. View More →

Jugendstil Tarock

‘Jugendstil Tarock’ was designed by Ditha Moser and first published by Albert Berger and Josef Glanz in 1906.

Tarocco Piemontese

Tarocco Piemontese | Piedmontese tarot

Fortune-Telling Cards, c.1714

Fortune-Telling Cards, c.1690-1715, made specifically for the purpose of fortune-telling.

Russell Grant Astro-Tarot

Russell Grant astro-tarot


When movies, radio and television first appeared playing card manufacturers were worried. But people still had plenty of leisure time and card playing continued to increase. Today’s electronic devices, computers, the Internet and online gaming have changed everything and many former playing card manufacturers have closed down or been taken over by larger corporations. The older manufacturers are now a reminder of bygone days. View More →

Dondorf, 1833-1933

Bernhard Dondorf, playing card manufacturer, 1833-1933.

Gumppenberg of Milan

Fine playing cards by Gumppenberg of Milan evoking the style of antiquity, c.1830

Åkerlund & Rausing, 1931-1937

Swedish style pack by Åkerlund & Rausing, Stockholm, 1931-1937

National Card Co.

National Card Co., Indianapolis & New York (c.1886-1894)


Evaluation of new playing cards provides a summary and brief discussion of the artistic and technical features, the design and content, as well as contact details to the seller's website. View More →

Pirate Playing Cards

The idea for these playing cards came from Vitaly Fishilevich's love of pirate stories and hidden treasure...

Watersprite Tarot

Alison McDonald's Watersprite Tarot cards, 2012

Serpentine Playing Cards

‘Serpentine’ Playing Cards published by Legends P.C.Co., 2014

Steam Ark Playing Cards

“Steam Ark” playing cards illustrated by Chet Phillips, 2014


Playing cards arrived in Europe the late 14th century and rapidly became a part of popular culture. Antique playing cards are like a visit to the local museum and evoke images of past eras and ways of life and also demonstrate archaic technology or production methods. So what do the oldest surviving playing cards look like? View More →

Blanchard, c.1770

Cards by Blanchard

South German Engraver, c.1496

The cards are decorated with birds, animals, plants, cavorting children and other miniature creatures.

Torras y Sanmartí, 1830

Torras y Sanmartí y Cía, Barcelona, 1830

Arms of English Peers, 1688

Heraldry was an important part of a respectable education.


The 19th century saw the rise of European tourism, especially in Switzerland. Souvenir playing cards depict the aesthetic, political, social, cultural and economic standpoints of the countries to which they belong and remind us of our journey. They usually feature beauty spots, local customs, gastronomy, heritage or other attractions and are closely related to shopping... View More →

Vistas del Perú, c.1940

Vistas del Perú, c.1940

Inka-Dynasty playing cards

Inka-Dynasty playing cards based on 16th century designs by Guamán Poma, Peru

The Stage No.65, 1896

These “Stage Playing Cards” are souvenirs from a bygone age but today they have historic and nostalgia value.

Galapagos Islands

Galapagos Islands Souvenir Playing Cards

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