Hand-made replica 17th century English playing cards, based on museum originals.
40-card "A Todos Alumbra - Naypes Refinos" pack manufactured by Léonard Biermans, Turnhout, c.1880.
Stylistically, the deck fits easily into the Dondorf “luxury card” group. The deck has been produced for the Danish firm Adolph Wulff of Copenhagen, also for F. Tilgmann in Helsinki, and a Swedish version by Öberg & Son, Stockholm.
Cards from a 54-card "Austrian Tarock" or "Industrie und Glück Tarock" pack made by Franz Adametz of Vienna, c.1948. This type of pack originated around the middle of the 19th century and was used (and still is) in Austria and Hungary.
“Five 'o One” playing cards, a version of the Dondorf Rhineland pattern, manufactured by Universal Playing Card Co. Ltd in around 1936 for export to Scandinavia
Aluette playing cards manufactured by Dieudonné & Cie, Angers (France), early 20th century
These decks were produced in various grades for the German immigrant population and feature the German eagle and the German and American flags intertwined. There were two versions: one with German faces and one with American faces.
Argentina has produced a series of anonymous decks, both Spanish-suited and Anglo-American type and children's games.
Anonymous Mexican Playing Card Manufacturers
Cards from a Mexican pack c.1835; maker unknown
Anonymous Moroccan Playing Cards for Royal Air Maroc airlines and others...
Apache Indian Playing Cards made on rawhide, first recorded 1875
Over the years eight different Aces of Spades were used with this brand and the Joker was also modified several times. The brand was eventually phased out in 1931.
The Joker is particularly persuasive, whilst the Ace of Spades has a battle scene involving artillery, with Navy ships in the distance and the statue of the goddess of Freedom in the middle.
The Arpak No-Revoke playing cards, 24 Mount Pleasant, Liverpool, c.1927-35
Artex Quadrilato No.333 for Tunisia
The earliest Tarot decks originated in Italy in the fifteenth century, with Italian suit symbols. However the game was very popular elsewhere and tarots with French suit signs, usually called "tarok" or "tarock", appeared around 1750 which are now mainly produced in Austria.
Spanish-suited, Bingo-themed playing cards published in 2007 by Grupo AGG (Argentine Gaming Group) who owns the Bingo Avellaneda venues in Buenos Aires.
Sports-themed playing cards published by Badische Spielkartenfabrik, Baden, c.1930
‘La Auténtica Baraja Canaria’ was published in 1995 by Justo Pérez as an expression of the history and character of the Canary Islands.
Baraja Gallega designed by cartoonists and caricaturists Pinto Chinto (David Pintor & Carlos López) in 2002.
Medieval style playing cards commemorating the Battle of Grunwald (1410), designed and published by Studio Wena, 2011
Bavarian single-ended pattern by Vereinigte Altenburg-Stralsunder Spielkarten-Fabriken A-G., c.1937
In 1875 the lithographic stone for Mesmaekers' Spanish cards was simply redesigned from a woodcut, despite the differences in technique and craftsmanship required for each method.
'A Todos Alumbra' Spanish-suited Playing Cards manufactured by Van Genechten, c.1920
The following works on Playing Card history and design have been consulted in preparing this website.
The famous ‘Bicycle’ brand had been introduced by Russell & Morgan Printing Co. in 1885 and they became the best known brand in the world. On this basis the United States Playing Card Co. issued Spanish versions of their flagship brand
The famous Bicycle playing cards were first introduced by Russell & Morgan Printing Co in 1885
One of the outstanding and most popular packs made by the Turnhout cardmakers was the Bongoût type. Special scenic Aces could be added to packs according to the client's preferences.
“Boudoir” playing cards were introduced by Chas Goodall & Son in 1906 in a new, slimmer size.
The Brescia pattern contains elements which come from a past age. Some of the characteristic features are the Cupid on the Ace of Cups, the linked 2 of coins, the old-fashioned batons forming a trellis and the curved swords.
Unique pack of playing cards created for the British Museum with illustrations by Frances Button
"Calendario Inka" playing cards based on historic 16th century designs by the Peruvian chronicler Felipe Guamán Poma de Ayala, and published by Power Casinos, Lima, Peru, c.2004.
Spanish national pattern by A. Camoin & Cie, Casablanca & Marseille
Vale Tudo - Cartas para Jogar, manufactured in Sao Paulo, Brazil. The courts are standard English pattern with prominent indices, printed in red and black only.
Cartes Catalanes are used in a small area in the Eastern Pyrenées region of Southern France.
Cartes La Gazelle, manufactured by Imprimerie de L'Entente, Casablanca
Playing cards are used for fortune-telling, predicting the future or even as a psychological adjunct to folk medicine and therapy. Playing cards or tarot cards are used as symbols to make conscious psychological states within the mind and are a tool for spiritual or introspective enquiry.
Moroccan cards with the legend 'Casablanca'
Playing cards recovered from the Northern Chile saltpetre workers. The cards are mostly from Spanish 'Cadiz' pattern decks, and several manufacturers can be identified.
Cir-Q-Lar Playing Cards. In 1929 John Waddington Ltd commenced the production of circular cards and these were very popular.
The History of English Playing Cards dates probably from the mid 15th century, the first documentary evidence of their existence in this country occurring in an Act of Parliament which prohibited the import of foreign cards.
Congress Playing Cards were first produced by the Russell & Morgan Company in 1881 as the finest and most expensive of their brands.
The art of mystifying people is very old indeed. The first conjurers were priests who obtained power over simple minds by performing magical tricks which appeared to have a supernatural origin.
Copag Baralho Espanhol / Naipes Español
“Cossack” playing cards, with artwork by O. Panchenko dedicated to the revival of the traditions of the Cossacks. Printed by the Colour Printing Plant, St Petersburg, 1994
The Universal Playing Card Co., Crown Point Series
The idea of suit symbols may have originated with Chinese 'Money' cards. However, the suits that made their way into Europe were probably an adaptation of the Islamic cups, swords, coins, and polo sticks.
Chromo-lithograph Ganjifa cards by the Chitrasala Press, around 1950. Ten suits of twelve cards, each suit is based on one of the ten incarnations of Vishnu.