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Published February 19, 2015 Updated March 20, 2022

Sands & McDougall

Sands & McDougall, playing card manufacturers, Melbourne, late 1890s-c.1970.

Australia Sands & McDougall Pelaco Add to Collection

Sands & McDougall

Patriotic Playing Cards

The ‘Patriotic’ playing cards were published in 1917, issued by the Director-General of Recruiting, in support of the Australian Imperial Force, an all-volunteer Australian Army expeditionary force. The four Aces represent Australia, Canada, South Africa and India. The Joker is a cluster of the Allied flags. Pictures of Australian soldiers embellish the backs of one pack and the Union Jack is on the other. Other cards are ornamented with phrases such as: “The Commonwealth Calls” and “Keep Playing the Game” supposedly to proclaim the glorious honour of dying for one’s country. The cards were issued through the State Recruiting Committees and War Services bodies.

Patriotic Playing Cards printed by Sands & McDougall, 1917 Patriotic Playing Cards printed by Sands & McDougall, 1917

Above: Patriotic Playing Cards printed by Sands & McDougall, 1917. Images courtesy Jan Walls.

Special Jokers printed by Sands & McDougall

Above: packs with special jokers printed by Sands & McDougall. Images courtesy Jan Walls  see more

Sands & McDougall had their earliest brands registered in the late 1890s. Brand names include “Victory”, “The Motor”, “Oceana”, “Empress”, “Silhouette”, “Peerless”, “Invicta”, “Jewel” and a selection of cheaper, budget decks such as “Emu”, “Tiger” and “Kangaroo”. They often used clown jokers, as seen in the examples below.

Several styles of court cards and aces of spades are known to have been issued over time more

Above: “Oceana” playing cards by Sands & McDougall, pre-1915

Above: the “Malwa” playing cards by Sands & McDougall showing the ship built in 1908 by Caird & Co, Greenock for the Peninsular & Oriental Steam Navigation Co.

Above: “Emu” and “Kangaroo” budget grade playing cards by Sands & McDougall, published from c.1910-1930s

Above: “Invicta” playing cards by Sands & McDougall, c.1935. There are quite a few picture back designs, plus pattern backed 500 decks.

Above: “Tiger” playing cards by Sands & McDougall, c.1935

Above: “Tiger” budget grade playing cards by Sands & McDougall, c.1935

Above: “Peerless” playing cards by Sands & McDougall, c.1940


Sands & McDougall did a lot of special advert decks in the 20s and 30s, particularly a series of the various beer brands put out by Carlton & United Breweries.

Above: Special Ace and Joker for V.B. Bitter Ale, 1920s  more


Sands & McDougall produced many beautiful Spade Aces and Jokers.

Above: Special Ace and Joker for Netherlands Distilleries  more


‘Pelaco’ playing cards by Sands & McDougall, c.1930

Above: ‘Pelaco’ playing cards by Sands & McDougall, c.1930


Above: Australian Red Cross Society printed by Sands & McDougall, c.1945

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6 Articles

By Jan Walls

Member since March 02, 2019

I collected playing cards since I was in primary school.


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