The World of Playing Cards Logo

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.

Winnie the Pooh

Winnie the Pooh Spanish-suited deck, 2002.

Winnie the Pooh Spanish-suited deck, 2002.

Winnie the Pooh Spanish-suited deck, 2002 Winnie the Pooh Spanish-suited deck, 2002 Winnie the Pooh Spanish-suited deck, 2002 Winnie the Pooh Spanish-suited deck, 2002 Winnie the Pooh Spanish-suited deck, 2002

Above: Winnie the Pooh Spanish-suited deck, anonymous publisher, 2002. 40 cards in box.

avatar

By Simon Wintle

Member since February 01, 1996

View Articles

Curator and editor of the World of Playing Cards since 1996.

Recommended

Pato Donald

Pato Donald

Donald Duck card game © Walt Disney Productions, by Naipes Fournier, 1984.

Werbung die Sticht

Werbung die Sticht

“Werbung die Sticht” deck with artwork by Fritz Bünzli to promote advertising on playing cards by AG Müller 1982.

Inspector Gadget

Inspector Gadget

The Adventures of Inspector Gadget quartet game published by Fournier in 1983.

Periquito y Tontín Dominoes

Periquito y Tontín Dominoes

Periquito y Tontín Dominoes, featuring Feliz and Bonzo, 1920s.

Christmas Playing Cards

Christmas Playing Cards

Christmas Playing Cards published by Novelty Playing Cards, Syracuse, New York, 1986.

Loriot Rummy

Loriot Rummy

Delightful comical deck designed by Loriot, the German cartoonist and comedian, 1973.

Hamm’s Beer

Hamm’s Beer

Hamm’s Beer promotion deck with bear cartoons by Frank M. Antoncich 1968.

Biff! Bang!! Wallop!!!

Biff! Bang!! Wallop!!!

Biff! Bang!! Wallop!!! family card game published by H.P. Gibson & Sons Ltd, 1939.

Capilettor

Capilettor

Capilettor cartoon playing cards published by VASS, Leinfelden, 1978.

Flintstones Happy Families

Flintstones Happy Families

Flintstones Happy Families by J. W. Spear and Sons, c.1960.

Happy Families

Happy Families

Happy Families by Norvic Mill, c.1920s.

Shuffled Symphonies

Shuffled Symphonies

Shuffled Symphonies published by Pepys Games in association with Walt Disney, 1939.

Naipes Parliament por Caloi

Naipes Parliament por Caloi

Carlos Loiseau, better known as ‘Caloi’, was a cartoonist whose designs for Parliament Cigarettes were first published in the early 1970s.

Mickey’s Fun Fair

Mickey’s Fun Fair

Mickey’s Fun Fair published by Pepys Games in collaboration with Walt Disney, 1939.

Gulliver’s Travels

Gulliver’s Travels

Gulliver’s Travels by Pepys Games, based on the cartoon film, 1940.

Mordillo Skat

Mordillo Skat

Mordillo Skat designed by Guillermo Mordillo, c.1979

Boerenbond Veevoeders

Boerenbond Veevoeders

Promotional deck designed by Ray Goossens for the Boerenbond farmers’ union, c.1968.

Löwen Entertainment

Löwen Entertainment

Skat deck for Löwen Entertainment, producers of electronic gaming machines, 1986

Geprüfte Sicherheit

Geprüfte Sicherheit

Federal Institute for Occupational Safety and Accident Research, 1978

Butagaz

Butagaz

“Butagaz” playing cards for the French gas company, c.1976

Michelin Tyres, c.1970

Michelin Tyres, c.1970

Michelin Tyres by Waddingtons, c.1970.

Micky Mau~Mau

Micky Mau~Mau

Micky Mau~Mau by F. X. Schmid, 1978.

Farmyard Cries

Farmyard Cries

Farmyard Cries card game, designed by Racey Helps and published by Pepys Games, 1952.

Naipes Garaycochea

Naipes Garaycochea

Humorous playing cards designed by Carlos Garaycochea, Buenos Aires, c.2002.

Mundialito de Radiolandia 2000

Mundialito de Radiolandia 2000

‘Mundialito’ toy football playing cards published inside the magazine ‘Radiolandia 2000’, Argentina, 1978.

Fred Basset

Fred Basset

Fred Basset card game published by Pepys in 1977 based on the cartoon strip by Alex Graham.

Astérix

Astérix

Cartes à Jouer ‘Astérix’ published by Ducale, 1987.

Playing Cards designed by Alvaros

Playing Cards designed by Alvaros

Playing Cards designed by Alvaros, published by Eduardo Carrión, Montevideo, 2000

Alice

Alice

Alice card game published by Pepys in 1952, based on the Walt Disney film “Alice in Wonderland”.

Dumbo

Dumbo

Walt Disney’s Dumbo card game published by Pepys, 1939.

Tarot de l’An 2000

Tarot de l’An 2000

“Tarot de l’An 2000” designed by Pino Zac, 1981, satirising 20th century life.

Ottakar’s Happy Families

Ottakar’s Happy Families

Ottakar’s Happy Families designed by Chris Burke, 2000.

Popeye Knockout

Popeye Knockout

Popeye Knockout No.6586 by Tower Press, c.1961.

Habemus Boda, 2004

Habemus Boda, 2004

“Habemus Boda” deck celebrating the royal wedding of Prince Felipe and Princess Letizia of Spain with cartoons by Sir Cámara

Baraja PEPLVM

Baraja PEPLVM

Baraja PEPLVM features cartoons by Ortuño of famous actors and actresses in roles from epic Roman movies.

DC Comic Bombshells

DC Comic Bombshells

Stylish playing cards featuring the glamorous, superpowered female stars of the alternate reality world of DC Comics, published by 'Forbidden Planet', 2015

Cartes Recréatives

Cartes Recréatives

Cartes Recréatives is a set of Transformed playing cards designed by Armand-Gustave Houbigant (1790-1863) and first published by Terquem et May, Metz, in 1819.

Tom and Jerry Snap

Tom and Jerry Snap

Tom and Jerry Snap published by Pepys Games, 1972.

Jacqueline Wilson Playing Cards

Jacqueline Wilson Playing Cards

“Jacqueline Wilson” playing cards were illustrated by Nick Sharratt and published by Winning Moves UK Ltd in 2007.

The Perishers

The Perishers

The Perishers, based on the TV cartoon series, published by Pepys in 1974.