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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.

Black Tango

‘Black Tango’ playing cards with photographs of dancing couples published by Gardés Editorial, 2003.

‘Black Tango’ playing cards with archival photographs of dancing couples published by Gardés Editorial, 2003. Overall design by Luis A. González.

‘Black Tango’ playing cards published by Gardés Editorial, 2003 ‘Black Tango’ playing cards published by Gardés Editorial, 2003 ‘Black Tango’ playing cards published by Gardés Editorial, 2003

Above: ‘Black Tango’ playing cards published by Gardés Editorial, Buenos Aires, 2003. 52 cards + 2 jokers + 2 extra cards in box. The reverse shows music score

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By Simon Wintle

Member since February 01, 1996

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

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