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Before the invention of the aeroplane travel by sea was much more common than it is today. First class travel was provided by cruise liners steaming between Europe and America, Africa and Australasia, third class travel provided to passengers not requiring any semblance of luxury by freight service, ferries still provide short-haul travel over water ways both within countries and between continents. Traditionally these shipping lines have sold souvenir decks of playing cards, both representing the shipping line such as Cunard, Manchester Line, Pacific and Orient (P & O), White Star or Union Castle and also the individual cruise ships such as the famous Queen Elizabeth 2. These souvenir playing cards were formerly made by leading names such as Waddington’s and De La Rue, however, during the later part of the 20th century decks were produced in Belgium, Hong Kong and China.

CREDITS: all images and text courtesy Matt Probert, who writes: "I get most of my decks from flea markets and car boot sales for 50p a deck. I rummage around and rescue old decks for a few pence. Occasionally I splash out a few quid on a deck, but I cannot justify paying more. This is a good way to start or expand a hobby."

Last Updated November 25, 2015 at 03:45pm

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