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.

Fair Play

Fair Play budget brand by Piatnik first appeared c.1950 before disappearing in c.1990.

Fair Play was a budget-brand produced anonymously by Austrian firm Piatnik during the second half of the 20th century, first appearing around 1950 before disappearing about 1990. See the Box

Fair Play budget brand by Piatnik first appeared c.1950 before disappearing c.1990 Fair Play budget brand by Piatnik first appeared c.1950 before disappearing c.1990

The cards were produced on noticeably lower quality “Plastic Treated” card stock. Also noticeable is the white (uncoloured) flesh of the court cards and jokers, the anonymous simple design of the ace of spades and the absence of any production codes on the ace of hearts, all of which differentiate the brand from the more usual Piatnik designs. Packs have been found sold singly, and also paired as a bridge set in a faux-leather case distributed by Benno Products.

Fair Play budget brand by Piatnik first appeared c.1950 before disappearing c.1990

Images courtesy Matt Probert.

avatar

By Matt Probert

Member since March 02, 2012

View Articles

I have adored playing cards since before I was seven years old, and was brought up on packs of Waddington's No 1. As a child I was fascinated by the pictures of the court cards.

Over the next fifty years I was seduced by the artwork in Piatnik's packs and became a collector of playing cards.

Seeking more information about various unidentified packs I discovered the World of Playing Cards website and became an enthusiastic contributor researching and documenting different packs of cards.

I describe my self as a playing card archaeologist, using detective work to identify and date obscure packs of cards discovered in old houses, flea markets and car boot sales.

Recommended

Gulliver’s Travels

Gulliver’s Travels

Gulliver’s Travels card game no.293 published by Piatnik, c.1950.

Piccadilly Patience

Piccadilly Patience

Piccadilly Patience by Piatnik, c.1955

Rococo Playing Cards

Rococo Playing Cards

Piatnik’s Rococo style playing cards issued as “Rococo Patience”, “Luxus-Patience”, “Empire Patience”, “White Horse Patience”, “Patience-Whist No.140”, “Mini Patience” and “Lady Patience”

Fair Play

Fair Play

Fair Play budget brand by Piatnik first appeared c.1950 before disappearing in c.1990.

2: Over 75 Years of Collecting Playing Cards

2: Over 75 Years of Collecting Playing Cards

This is a personal account of some of my experiences collecting playing cards.