‘Pelaco’ Playing Cards
Pelaco playing cards depict Aboriginal characters on the court cards, joker and back design, with the ace of spades also suggesting a face. The images are believed to have been inspired by Mulga Fred (c.1874-1948), an Aboriginal buckjumper and one of the greatest rodeo riders of his day. Around 1917 the clothing firm Pelaco Ltd company advertising depicted a bare-legged and bare-foot Aboriginal man. By the 1930s ‘Pelaco Bill’ sported a monocle and cigar, or stood resplendent in shirt, tie and trousers.
Mulga Fred was 5 ft 10 ins (178 cm) tall, full-bearded and softly spoken; in later life he walked with a limp, a legacy of rodeo work. His tombstone is engraved with a stockwhip and boomerang, symbols of the two cultures he mastered. A design application appears to have been lodged at the National Archives dated July 1933. The names on the four Kings are unclear, but may be Billy Kinnear, Frederick Charles Petty and Percy Joseph Brown of Prahran Vic whose names appear on the application.
Rock paintings and engravings of the San people, better known as the “Bushmen”.
Original designs from the French overseas department of Martinique by local artist Martine Porry.
Cheerful, colourful designs on handmade paper from Nepal.
Estonian national costumes and everyday items feature on this pack made in Estonia.
A colourful pack of round cards with Ganjifa designs by Asha Industries, Mumbai, India, 2002.
Pack designed for La Maison de L’Artisanat Ltée, Mauritius, by Hervé de Cotter.
Non-standard designs on Nepalese handmade paper for Pilgrims Book House, Kathmandu, Nepal, c.2000.
The first of two decks designed by Ukrainian illustrator Vladislav Erko for “Korchma Taras Bulba” restaurant which serves traditional Ukrainian cuisine
Hand-drawn Transformation cards, c.1870.
Folk Cards designed by Krystyna Gruchalska-Bunsch for Lot Polish Airlines, 1962.
Bosch Puzzle Playing Cards by Sunish Chabba, 2020.
Irish Legendary deck featuring figures in the Legends of Ireland, designed by Rachel Arbuckle, 1990.
Ethiopian playing cards designed for the Ethiopian Tourist Organization by Afewerk Teklé.
Baraja Tonalamatl Mexican Aztec playing cards based on the prehispanic Codex Borgia manuscript.
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National Misfitz published by C.W. Faulkner & Co c.1900.
Many Folk Misfitz published by C.W. Faulkner & Co., c.1906.
I collected playing cards when I was in primary school, by Jan Walls.
Matching game by Majora, Lisbon, c.1970, featuring figures in national dress from Portuguese provinces and colonies
Ethiopian Air Lines playing cards designed by Melles Habtezghi with courts wearing regional costumes, c.1969.
“Naipes Criollos” Gaucho playing cards, 1995.
Naipes Cardón designed by Mario Luis Rivero depicting traditional Argentine culture and identity, 2002.
A Motley Pack - transformation playing cards & ‘On The Cards’ book facsimile published by Sunish Chabba, 2019.
Billabong Dual Deck by Hudson Industries, 1950s.
Characters from the Chinese novel “The Water Margin” - 水滸撲克.
Kalevala playing cards by Sunish Chabba and Ishan Trivedi inspired by ancient Finnish mythology.
Austrian Folklore deck first published by Piatnik in 1934.
Happy Families of the World published by Pepys Games, 1963.
Souvenir playing cards from Garuda Indonesia Airlines, the national airline of Indonesia.
Adelaide Casino by Spicers Paper Ltd, 1987.
Native American Warriors from the Wild West Series published by SPCC, 2018.
Erlenmeyer City Sights hand-illustrated playing cards by Stephanie Gray, 2015.
Estate Playing Cards with five suits designed by Keith Wilson
Vizaĝo playing cards created by Annette Abolins, 2017.
Advertising backs by William Detmold Ltd (Australia) c.1910-1920s.
Far East playing cards with designs by Isabel Ibáñez de Sendadiano, c.1980.
Souvenir playing cards from the culturally diverse southwestern Pacific island of Papua New Guinea.
Mongolian Religious Mask Dancing playing cards, c.2010
“Allfours Carnival Playing Cards” designed by Gabby Woodham, Trinidad, 1995
“African Art” Playing cards by John J. Beckvermit III, 1994