Political playing cards were introduced in the 17th century providing entertainment by satirising or deriding current events and leaders. Propaganda cards, war cards and even educational cards all carry a political message... but at this critical time in history people are awakening to a need for global healing which politicians can’t always deliver.
Andrew Dougherty's Army & Navy deck from the Civil War era, c.1865. The cards have no indices and are printed in red/blue/black only with a green/red back pattern.
“L'Union Fait la Force”, sometimes known as “the Allied pack”, has the four suits dedicated to the victorious nations of the Second World 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.
In 1943 a pack of ‘anti-fascist’ playing cards was designed by Vasiliy Andrianovich Vlasov mocking the rulers of Germany and the Axis powers.
Deck from the liberation war against Napoleon, unknown maker, c.1815.
“Baraja Hispanoamericana” published by Asescoin, with artwork by Ortuño, illustrates memorable people from the discovery, colonisation and subsequent liberation of Hispanic America
“La Baralla Espanyola de Regió 7”, created by Jaume Capdevila and Helena Rovira for Edicions Intercomarcals SA in 1996, depicts caricatures of Spanish politicians from that era.
The King of Acorns is supposed to represent Prince Otto; the King of Leaves is Maximilian II; the King of Bells is Ludwig II; the King of Hearts is Ludwig I wearing a general's uniform. The court cards are all male, but some of the numeral cards depict women.
With a distinct history stretching back to the early middle ages, many Catalans think of themselves as a separate nation from the rest of Spain
King Christian IV anniversary pack, designed by Thora Fisker and printed by L. Jevison Junior, 1988
Czech “Hussite” Pack engraved by Karel Hoffmann and first printed by Jan Ritter in 1895.
During the 19th century growing nationalist sentiment led to a rejection of Austro-Hungarian culture in favour of that of the native Czech people. One outcome from this movement was a ‘Nationalistic’ pack of playing cards painted by Emanuel Neumann.
Deakin & Co., 45 Eastcheap, London EC published a political pack in 1886 with caricatures of political figures relating to the Irish Home Rule movement which was a contentious issue of the day.
Dviracio Kortos playing cards, based on 'Dviracio Zynios' ('The Bicycle's News'), a popular Lithuanian TV comedy show, in which actors satirize the vices and follies of modern society.
French Revolution playing cards published by Gayant in Paris, 1793
Gedimino Stulpai playing cards made in Lithuania by Spindulys Printing Co., Kaunas, depicting Lithuanian national symbolism.
Court cards from the Seminole Wars deck by J. Y. Humphreys, Philadelphia, c.1819. Ace of Spades from Jazaniah Ford's Decatur deck, 1815. Jazaniah Ford was born in Milton (Massachusetts) in 1757
Hadsegélyzö Kártya ('War Aid Pack' or 'War Aid Cards') Nr. 63 designed by Leo Kober and first published by Piatnik, Budapest, in 1917.
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.
Dondorf's "Fynste Java Speelkaarten No.17" was published to commemorate the second marriage of King William III with Princess Emma of Waldeck-Pyrmont, on January 7, 1879.
Judaism is the oldest of the great monotheist religions, parent of Christianity and Islam.
Klubams (for the clubs) playing cards manufactured in Lithuania by Spindulys Printing House (Kaunas), c.1930
The Knavery of the Rump playing cards, first published in 1679, are a satirical portrayal of Oliver Cromwell's Government. The illustrations on the cards provide a rare visual impression of the times.
Cards from c.1850 by L. P. Holmblad showing fantasy historical Danish Kings and Queens.
The “Baraja Constitucional” commemorates the declaration in Cádiz of the Constitution of 1812 and was designed and created by Simón Ardit y Quer in 1822
8 cards and two jokers from the 'Gironda' pack, showing eminent statesmen and politicians from Lithuania from the 1990s.
Marlborough's Victories playing cards, first published in 1707, depict Marlborough's campaigns and the personalities involved. The elaborately engraved illustrations cover a variety of European political issues and include portraits of royalty connected with the campaigns.
Naipes Artiguistas were published in Concepción del Uruguay, Entre Rios province (Argentina) in 1816, by Fray Solano García (1784-1845) at a special moment in Uruguayan history.
La baraja ‘Popular’, featuring Juan Domingo Perón issued at the time of Perón's election campaign in 1951. The reverse shows silhouettes of Juan Domingo Perón and his wife Evita.
Political Playing Cards, Buenos Aires, 1890
This 2012 deck of Politicards represents the sixth election year that Peter Green has created these collectible playing cards.
Pomorski Poker (Pomeranian Poker) is a gallery of characters from the region: politicians, media, culture, athletes, entrepreneurial women, etc.
The editors of “Privātā Dzīve” magazine conceived the idea for this new pack, which was designed by artist Lidmila Bulikina and printed by LGL Stils, Ltd in June 2001.
Political caricature playing cards designed by Antonio Olveira, published by the Malaga newspaper “Diario 16” on the occasion of the 1995 local elections.
The Russians were no strangers to propaganda cards. Clubs represent the Russian Orthodox church, Hearts Roman Catholicism, Spades Confucianism and Diamonds represent Judaism. The Joker is depicted as a top-hatted Capitalist holding the strings of the four religions.
A rare American Russian political pack by J. Dravin, Roxbury Mass, 1909, depicting events and moods in early 20th century Russia.
Piatnik was known for their magnificent quality of chromo-lithographic printing, and this facsimile, or reprint, of “Soldaten Tarock No. 217” is virtually as magnificent as the original.
Victory deck commemorating the Liberation war by Friedrich Gotthelf Baumgärtner, Leipzig, 1815
54 Welsh Politicians on a deck of playing cards...
Although work was almost at a standstill throughout World War I, in 1919 Brepols commemorated the victories of World War I with two new packs featuring portraits of Allied leaders on the court cards and famous battle scenes on the Aces.