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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 cosmos. 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.

From the Blog

Our blog on playing cards, current Kickstarter campaigns and projects from around the web View More →

Art & Design

The playing card calls for artistic treatment and although the constrained size imposes some limitations there is an almost bewildering wealth and variety of designs in playing cards and their tuck boxes. The serious player requires design to be unobtrusive so that aesthetic considerations remain in the background. However, with modern manufacturing technology more eye-catching designs are becoming popular as gifts, collectibles and for their attractive appearance. View More →

History

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 →

Advertising & Promotional

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. View More →

Souvenir

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 →

Manufacturers

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 →

Pop Culture

Popular culture, cinema, tv and global brands today are a product of the economically more developed countries and arise from a combination of advances in industrial technology and increased leisure time. It aims to be sold to large numbers of people as a commodity. Certain currents of pop culture may originate from or diverge into a subculture. View More →

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