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Cotta Transformation playing cards

Cotta Transformation playing cards, 1804

In 1804, J. C. Cotta, a publisher and bookseller in Tübingen, Germany, produced the first set of transformation cards that was published as an actual deck of playing cards, designed by Charlotte von Jennison-Walworth. The court cards depict characters from Friedrich von Schiller's tragedy Die Jungfrau von Orleans (The Maid of Orleans) but the transformed pip cards are unrelated. This art form probably began as a parlour game in late 18th century England for the entertainment of ladies and gentlemen, but since then transformation cards have become one of the most popular fantasy creations in playing cards and often showcase a high level of creative art and skill. You can play it yourself at home... take a piece of card and mark five or six suit symbols, then players must create a figure from these...

Cotta's Transformation playing cards, first published in Tübingen, Germany, in 1804

Above: Cotta's Transformation playing cards, first published in Tübingen, Germany, in 1804. These decks were published as almanacs, each card corresponding to one of the 52 weeks of the year. Cards shown here are from the facsimile edition published by Baptiste-Paul Grimaud (France-Cartes) in 1984. 52 cards + extra card in presentation box.

Last Updated November 12, 2015 at 03:53pm

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