The Beggars’ Opera Playing Cards were first published in 1728. The cards carry the words and music of the songs from Gay’s opera, which was intended as a parody of current Italian works. The music was taken from many popular tunes of the day.
The South Sea Bubble Playing Cards were first published in London by Thomas Bowles in 1720. The cards bear satirical portrayals of the speculators involved in the South Sea Bubble of 1720, providing a unique contemporary record of the feverish atmosphere of the time, as well as the fashions of dress.
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.
Transformation playing cards, first published in 1811, in which each card bears a picture in which the suit marks are concealed within the design. It is supposed that this artistic exercise began as a late 18th century parlour game.
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.