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Playing cards have been with us since the 14th century, when they first entered popular culture. Over the centuries packs of cards, in all shapes and sizes, have been used for games, gambling, education, conjuring, advertising, fortune telling, political messages or the portrayal of national or ethnic identity. All over the world, whatever language is spoken, their significance is universal. Their popularity is also due to the imaginative artwork and graphic design which is sometimes overlooked, and the “then & now” of how things have changed.

16 Articles

Ann & John Sings

Member since December 22, 2021

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The latest articles from Ann & John Sings

Pantheon or Heathen Mythology

Pantheon or Heathen Mythology cards for instruction of youth, c.1770. • Dec 31, 2018

Georgian Fortune Telling Cards

Georgian Fortune Telling Cards, c.1800. • Dec 24, 2017

Illustrated Playing Cards, c.1740

Illustrated playing cards featuring comical engravings and rhymes about saints, c.1740. • Nov 30, 2017

Geographical Playing Cards, c.1682

Geographical playing cards sold by Henry Brome, second edition, c.1682. • Nov 03, 2017

Jeu des Drapeaux c.1816

“Jeu des Drapeaux” commemorating Napoleon’s greatest battles, c.1816. • Sep 11, 2017

French Suited Piquet

French Suited Piquet by David Vachet, Switzerland, c.1812. • Sep 06, 2017

John Nixon Scrapbook, 1803

Transformation proofs from the John Nixon Scrapbook. • Sep 03, 2017

Thackeray Transformation Cards, 1876

Transformation playing cards by William Makepeace Thackeray, 1876. • Aug 28, 2017

Bubble Cards, 1720

Bubble Cards - known as “All the Bubbles”, c.1720. • Dec 14, 2016

Fortune-Telling Cards

These Fortune-Telling cards, first published as early as 1690, were possibly the first pack of cards ever made specifically for the purpose of fortune-telling. • Jul 03, 1996