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Published December 19, 2023 Updated December 19, 2023

Trappola pack by Anton Herrl

Trappola pack of 36 double-ended cards published by Anton Herrl, Graz, Austria.

Austria Anton Herrl Trappola Archaic Patterns Add to Collection

Trappola pack of 36 playing-cards with Italian suits published by Anton Herrl, Graz, Austria. On the ace of batons is "Bei Anton Herrl". On the 2 of swords is "Diese feine Trapulier Karten sind zu finden bei Anton Herlblerg Karten Mahler in Graz". The cards run: ace, king, knight, jack, 2 and 7-10. The missing pip cards suggest that it evolved from an earlier pack: it is a very old game which originated in Italy in the 16th century.

The name is Italian but the cards were used in the Austro-Hungarian empire, produced principally in Prague, Graz and Vienna. Packs are known with single-figure courts and also double-ended courts and aces. The cards are usually narrow, brightly coloured and come in various sizes. They are distinguishable from Italian packs by the oriental dress in the courts of cups and swords. Today, Trappola cards are considered historical curiosities and not commonly used for playing games. However, they hold a place in the history of playing cards as an early variation that emerged during the development of card games in Europe.

Trappola pack of 36 double-ended playing-cards published by Anton Herrl, Graz, Austria, late 19th Century. © The Trustees of the British Museum

Above: cards from an Italian-suited Trappola pack of 36 double-ended playing-cards published by Anton Herrl, Graz, Austria, late 19th Century. Hand-coloured woodcut, backs printed with a zigzag pattern in black and brown. © The Trustees of the British Museum • Museum number 1896,0501.336

References

O’Donoghue, Freeman M: Catalogue of the collection of playing cards bequeathed by Lady Charlotte Schreiber, (German 304), Trustees of the British Museum, London, 1901 [digital version here]

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By Simon Wintle

Member since February 01, 1996

Founder and editor of the World of Playing Cards since 1996. He is a former committee member of the IPCS and was graphics editor of The Playing-Card journal for many years. He has lived at various times in Chile, England and Wales and is currently living in Extremadura, Spain. Simon's first limited edition pack of playing cards was a replica of a seventeenth century traditional English pack, which he produced from woodblocks and stencils.


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