A few examples of the many interesting back designs.
An initial survey of 19th century playing-card production. More detailed information appears on other pages.
My interest in postage stamp variants led me to apply the same principles to playing cards.
A preliminary look at the card-makers operating in the 19th century.
Dating is a particularly tricky but very interesting problem to tackle and there are many pitfalls
A detailed presentation of the variants of De La Rue's standard cards
In December 1831 Thomas de la Rue was granted his patent for printing playing cards by letterpress.
Alice in Wonderland card game based on original designs by Sir John Tenniel published by Thomas De la Rue & Co. Ltd, c.1900
Agreement had been reached between Waddington's and De La Rue during the second world war for Waddington's to manufacture playing cards for De la Rue. Thus the Amalgamated Playing Card Company was born but it remained an unofficial name for many years.
Animal Grab card game by Thomas De La Rue & Co., 110 Bunhill Row, London..
Advertising deck produced for Arthur Lee and Sons Ltd of Sheffield by Thomas De la Rue around 1958
A charming Victorian family card game involving Clowns, Queens, Kings, Maids and thirty-seven Blackbirds manufactured by Thos De la Rue, c.1900
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.
The “Cavalry Game” manufactured by Thomas de la Rue & Co Ltd, c.1900-10
Cheery Families card game designed by Richard Doyle and printed by De La Rue & Co., Ltd, c.1893
De La Rue introduced letter-press printing into playing card production and his patent was granted in 1831. He produced his first playing cards in 1832.
During the latter part of the nineteenth century De La Rue produced two special packs of cards for the
Continental market. The Aces of Spades are marked "De La Rue & Co. London and Paris".
Non-standard playing cards produced by De la Rue & Co. (London), c.1930s
In around 1955 De la Rue introduced a new coloured joker and a series of aces of spades with a silhouette of Thomas de La Rue which coincided with their 125th anniversary
Arthur Charles Prince worked for De la Rue as a playing card cutter and later was promoted to supervisor of a small team of workers of same until his death aged 50.
Electrical Mah Jong was produced by De La Rue for The Western Electric Company Ltd in 1924 for the Wembley Exhibition
The “Star” special pack of playing cards manufactured by Thomas De la Rue under their Empire Card Co subsidiary, c.1910
Thos De la Rue & Co. Games Leaflet, c.1910
“Gipsy” fortune-telling cards with original artwork by Hylton Cock, published by Thomas de la Rue & Co Ltd., c.1910.
The stories about the Golliwogg and the Dutch dolls were written by Bertha Upton (1849-1912) and illustrated by her daughter Florence Kate Upton (1873-1922)
“Iddy Umpty” card game based around learning to read the Morse Code Alphabet. by Thomas de la Rue & Co., Ltd, c.1905
Designed by Reuben Townroe (1835‑1911), the artist who designed the ornamented terra cotta work on the exterior of the Royal Albert Hall in London.
“Little Jack Horner” Snap made by Thomas De la Rue & Co Ltd, c.1890
Jean Picart le Doux playing cards, issued in 1957 to celebrate the company's 125th anniversary, featuring designs carried out in richly toned colourings typical of tapestries.
Jungle Jinks card game with artwork by Constance Stannard Chapman, manufactured by Thomas De La Rue & Co Ltd for H P Gibson & Sons Ltd, c.1905
In 1935 a souvenir pack of playing cards to celebrate the King's 65th birthday was commissioned from the British firm of De La Rue.
Lawrence & Cohen decided to hire Owen Jones, the English playing card designer who produced back designs for De La Rue (London).
Printing of Playing Cards :: Letterpress printing. Some notes on the manufacture of playing cards taken from Thomas De la Rue's patent, 1831.
“Moods & Faces” round game by Thos de la Rue & Co Ltd,. c.1900
Noah’s Ark Card Game, c.1905, which in its day helped to teach the Old Testament worldview
Owen Jones (1809-1874) was a Welsh architect and interior designer who designed the backs of playing cards for Thomas de la Rue.
“Peter Pan” pictorial card game published by H. P. Gibson & Sons Ltd in c.1912 and manufactured by Thomas de la Rue & Co Ltd
from drawings by Charles A. Buchel (1872–1950)
De la Rue were producing Pneumatic cards with the “special graining for ease of handling” as late as early 1960s
Pneumatic Playing Cards. The surface of the cards was slightly grooved by being rolled on prepared plates, so that there were little pockets of air between each card, which prevented them sticking together.
De la Rue Pneumatic Series ‘F’ playing cards, c.1925
A two-pack patience set produced by Thomas De la Rue on behalf of the Prince of Wales National Relief Fund in 1914.
Rūfa is a game designed by Ernest Legh and manufactured by De la Rue. The object is to build a pagoda with specially-designed cards without causing the building to collapse.
Rufford playing cards is one of several brand names used by Boots for their stationery department, and probably the most popular.
52 Selected Views of Scotland produced for United Cigar & Tobacco Co. Ltd, Glasgow, Scotland by Raphael Tuck & Sons Ltd.
Lovely Victorian family card game with illustrations by the famous humorous artist, cartoonist and illustrator Richard Doyle (1824-1883)
Another late Victorian family card game by Thomas de la Rue & Co Ltd, c.1895 with beautifully illustrated period characters.
Swastika design playing cards by De La Rue, c.1925
Tempest is a family card game designed by W. Heath Robinson and published by Thomas de la Rue & Co. Ltd, c.1920s
Travel Agent is a card game designed by Martin A. Foley and manufactured by Thomas de la Rue & Co Ltd, c.1960
Playing cards first arrived in England during the 15th century, but none have survived from such an early date.