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 Denmark. Scandinavian indices K, D, Kn on the courts.
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...
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
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.
'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.
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.
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
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.
David Hurter had begun to build up a playing card business in Schaffhausen during the late 18th century.
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.
A wide size version of De Luxe No.142 had been published in c.1920, with a similar Ace of Spades and Joker, but which was never very popular. A narrow version was issued shortly afterwards.
The court cards in this well designed double-ended pack are realistically dressed in 16th century costumes with German suit symbols. The Kings and high ranking personnel are strict and austere. The farm workers and artisans remind us that the early 16th century was also the time of The German Peasants' War. Published during the period c.1926-1933. The reverse shows Prussian eagles.
This deck was apparently made to commemorate a Shooting Festival held in Leipzig in 1884
Dondorf's “Microscopique Tarock“ was first published in c.1870. The scenes portrayed at each end of the trump cards are marvels of miniature graphic artwork and printing, at which this manufacturer excelled.
There have been many variations in the design of “Club Karte” including the introduction of borders, corner indices and rounded corners, and variations in the inscriptions on the Aces over the years. This edition, with delicately chromo-lithographed flesh tones and colours, was produced by Dondorf during the period 1860-68.
The Valets in this deck appear in costumes of the Biedermeier period, portraying sentimental and pious poses, designed with graceful, curving lines but in keeping with the iconography of traditional German playing card patterns.
Each Ace shows views of two European capital cities.
Dondorf's “L'Hombre No.60” was manufactured for the Danish firm Adolph Wulff of Copenhagen between c.1910-1930.
These designs imitating late medieval costumes were published by B. Dondorf in Germany in various editions between 1889-1933 as Mittelalter No.150, 151 and 135. At first there were no indices, but after 1906 corner indices were added (A, K, D, B). Usually there was no Joker.