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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.

Kaiser Jubiläum

Kaiser Jubiläum Imperial playing cards made in Austria by Ferd Piatnik & Sons, Vienna

Kaiser Jubiläum Imperial playing cards made in Austria by Ferd Piatnik & Sons, Vienna, first published c.1898 but republished several times since then. This edition has English indices. The court cards depict various Austrian Emperors, their wives and the Jacks are allegorical representations of the 4 major nationalities of the Austro-Hungarian Empire. The reverse shows the Imperial & Royal Coat of arms.

Kaiser Jubiläum Imperial playing cards made in Austria by Ferd Piatnik & Sons, Vienna Kaiser Jubiläum Imperial playing cards made in Austria by Ferd Piatnik & Sons, Vienna

Above: Kaiser Jubiläum Imperial playing cards made in Austria by Ferd Piatnik & Sons, Vienna, 1977 edition. The ace of hearts from the first edition of 1898 is shown below, which has no indices.

Kaiser Jubiläum Imperial playing cards made in Austria by Ferd Piatnik & Sons, Vienna
Kaiser Jubiläum Imperial playing cards made in Austria by Ferd Piatnik & Sons, Vienna

Above: the reverse shows the Imperial & Royal Coat of arms. The joker is a benign court jester.

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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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Kaiser Jubiläum

Kaiser Jubiläum

Kaiser Jubiläum Imperial playing cards made in Austria by Ferd Piatnik & Sons, Vienna

Skat Politisch

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