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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 model of the universe. Over the centuries packs of cards, in all shapes and sizes, have been used for games, gambling, education, conjuring, advertising, fortune telling, political messages or the portrayal of national or ethnic identity. Their popularity is undoubtedy due to the imaginative artwork and graphic design which is sometimes overlooked, and the “then & now” of how things have changed.

Latest Articles

Biermans Genoese pattern

Posted by Simon Wintle •  April 06, 2017 at 12:15pm

Biermans Genoese pattern for Clayson agricultural machinery, late 1960s Read more →

The Blue Train (Bloutrein)

Posted by Simon Wintle •  April 04, 2017 at 05:18pm

“The Blue Train” playing cards from the luxury train service in South Africam Read more →

Mayall Press Art Studies

Posted by Simon Wintle •  March 22, 2017 at 09:02pm

Photographic playing cards - each face having an "art study" of a female nude, Mayall Press, Stockwell, London, c.1946. Read more →

Perspectives on Tarot

Posted by Adam Wintle •  March 21, 2017 at 05:27pm

Tarot, originally a 15th century card game, has evolved into a form of personal mysticism and spirituality. Read more →

Norway’s Beauty Spots

Posted by Simon Wintle •  March 20, 2017 at 10:36am

Views of Norway’s Beauty Spots Souvenir playing cards published by Nyborg in collaboration with Oslo Travel Association, 1950s. Read more →

Georg Kapfler

Posted by Simon Wintle •  March 13, 2017 at 05:21pm

Antique deck of old Bohemian playing cards of the German type manufactured by Georg Kapfler and dated 1611. Read more →

Vienna (ex-Lyon) pattern

Posted by Simon Wintle •  March 12, 2017 at 03:40pm

‘Vienna pattern’ derived from archaic Lyon pattern by Ferd Piatnik & Söhne A.G., c.1926-1934 Read more →

Prince of Wales National Relief Fund 1914

Posted by Simon Wintle •  March 11, 2017 at 07:21pm

A two-pack patience set produced by Thomas De la Rue on behalf of the Prince of Wales National Relief Fund in 1914. Read more →

Cartas Gitanas

Posted by Adam Wintle •  March 07, 2017 at 08:02pm

The designs of these fortune-telling cards are largely taken from nineteenth century Austrian "Rural Scenes" Tarock cards. Read more →

Saint-Martin Island Souvenir

Posted by Simon Wintle •  March 04, 2017 at 12:21pm

St-Martin Island Souvenir published by Editions Exbrayat Read more →

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