Usually featuring advertising messages and images promoting breweries, cigarettes, chocolate, banks, insurance, sea or air travel and other consumables, advertising playing cards are used in pubs and cafés and are a popular publicity item. Some packs are widely distributed, others are more exclusive. In some cases single cards are collected from inside the advertised product to complete a full set.
Advertising Backs by William Detmold Ltd (Australia) c.1910-1920s
Special pack for Aeronaves de Mexico S.A., designed by Ramón Valdiosera Berman, mid-1960s
‘Air India’ playing cards, made in India
Suntory Akadama Honey Wine playing cards manufactured by Nintendo, Japan, c.1970
The “Boffie” Kwartetspel was designed by Huibert Vet and published by Albert Heijn in 1936
Alfred Marks Recruitment Consultants publicity playing cards published by Astra Games
This deck is commonly known as the “Anheuser-Busch Spanish-American War deck”, issued at the end of the war.
The Kings show American admirals and the Jacks have different officers at each end. The Queens are “Our Colonies”. Advertising appears on the Ace of Spades and ‘Uncle Sam’ Joker, the back and the box. The medals on the Aces suggest awards.
The reverse has advertising for Cymaco motor spares who have branches in Uruguay.
Advertising pack designed by J. Passos and first printed by Cromografía Irández, Barcelona, c.1926. Re-printed in 1995
Asociart Insurance promotional playing cards, Argentina, 2000
Australian Brewery Advertising
Possibly one of the most beautiful decks produced for commercial purposes, this was printed by Modiano for the Austrian Lloyd Steamship Company of Trieste in c.1895
Clearly promoting good personal hygiene, each card shows a young, pouting female model posing seductively and appealing to the playboy.
A pack specially designed for a sandwich bar and cake shop. The jokers show a pile of sandwiches.
La Baraja 'Hoja de Afeitar'. Baraja de Hojas Maravilla descalificadas como de primerísima categoría.
Baraja Gallega designed by cartoonists and caricaturists Pinto Chinto (David Pintor & Carlos López) in 2002.
The Birkel company has produced several promotional “Schwarzer Peter” packs over the years and this one is themed on the circus.
Whisky advertising playing cards manufactured by Nintendo Playing Cards Co Ltd for Dodwell & Co., 1960s
Promotional playing cards produced for Bodegas Trapiche, designed to play Quartet games by collecting a wine bottle card with four matching glasses.
Playing cards advertising Sunspel underwear printed by the Breedon Press Ltd, Nottingham, c.1950
“Brighter Families” promotional card game for Cosmos Lamps (Metrovick), 1930
Advertising playing cards for Capel Vinos S.A., manufactured by Naipes Comas, 2001
Cardiology Trials - limited edition playing cards by Krakowskie Zaklady Wyrobów Papierowych Trefl (KZWP), 2003
Carreras Fortune Telling Cards, 1926
Carreras issued a number of packs of advertising playing cards as well as many cigarette and trade cards, miniature playing cards, dominoes, fortune telling cards and Happy Family cards during the 1920s and 30s.
Carreras Ltd miniature playing cards and dominoes, 1929
Naipes Casa Escasany ~ Magnificent novelty playing cards published by Casa Escasany, Buenos Aires, Argentina, 1930s
Promotional playing cards created by A. M. Cassandre (pseudonym of Adolphe Jean-Marie Mouron, 1901-1968) with abstract, almost surrealist figures and ornamentation, but clearly inspired by medieval art and rendered into an Art Deco style.
Cefacidal / Mead Johnson advertising playing cards, c.1975
Advertising pack for Cerveza El Gallo, made in Belgium, c.1880
This “Jeu de Familles” from the 1960s designed by Jean Bachès promotes Chambord glassware.
Chaudsoleil Red Wine advertising playing cards from Morocco.
Anglo-American style pack issued on behalf of the Cía Chilena de Tabacos, c.1930
Spanish style pack issued on behalf of the Cía Chilena de Tabacos, c.1932
Cigarette Cards, Trade Cards, Miniature Playing Cards and other ephemera.
The design of the figures is very agile with excellent colour harmony and execution.
Cilbrás is a distribution branch of the Brazilian high-pressure gas cylinder and welding supplies company Praxair. Praxair Argentina supplies atmospheric (argon, nitrogen, oxygen) and process gases (carbon dioxide, helium, hydrogen), as well as speciality and medical gases.
It was a common practice for card makers to produce decks under fictitious names particularly when producing advertising decks. This was to avoid promoting their own name at the expense of the client who was paying to advertise their own product.
Coca~Cola advertising playing cards printed for Ripley department store, Peru
Coimexpor Spanish-suited playing cards by Industria Gráfica Pesout, S.A., Buenos Aires, Argentina, c.2008
Naipes Conrad Punta del Este Casino playing cards, produced specially for Conrad Punta del Este Resort & Casino's Las Vegas style hotel in Uruguay.
The Cow and Gate Happy Family game was issued around 1928 to promote nutrition products
Playing cards designed by Enzo Laurà for Credito Commerciale, 1978.
Czech Insurance Company cartoon pack
Advertising Playing Cards printed by Drukkerij Juten, published by “De Kloof” of Bergen op Zoom, Holland, c.1970
Dengue prevention playing cards. Juego de 40 Naipes. Material para la prevención del Dengue, Ministerio de Salud de la Nación (Argentina).
“Domino Cinematográfico” published by Talleres Gráficos Irández, Barcelona, c.1925
Alto Imaging Group playing cards manufactured by Esveco Specialities B.V., c.1990s
Fastener S.R.L. (founded in 1990) are manufacturers of nuts and bolts and other industrial fasteners. The traditional Spanish suit symbols in this special pack have been substituted by various kinds of nuts and bolts.