Carta Mundi - dating early packs
Carta Mundi was founded in Turnhout on 27 June 1970 by pooling the production and sales facilities of the three surviving companies: Fabrique Brepols, Van Genechten and Léonard Biermans. It printed its first playing cards on August 2nd 1971. Thus early Carta Mundi packs have features inherited from each of the earlier companies, such as the Mesmaekers Joker and court cards, indices, etc. Early examples of the standard English pattern Queen of Hearts use a colour scheme of red, black, blue, yellow and green. In many cases the green is replaced by the blue used elsewhere in the cards and at the same time the index font becomes bolder and the suit indicator becomes less curvaceous. The main picture, however, remains constant.
Carta Mundi have such consistent print runs that no variations can be detected. However, the following observations may help to assign approximate dates to some earlier decks.
In around 1977 the the index font becomes bolder and the hearts & spades suit symbols become less curvaceous. Around this time packs were produced with three jokers, the third one showing a jester standing on top of the world, holding a king of hearts. Also, there appears to be a small change in some of the pip colours of the tiny cards falling from the joker's hand.
Large index cards are also found with two indices and flesh coloured faces (as distinct to the white of other designs), but otherwise using the same picture as the standard bridge-size cards. Carta Mundi produce their 'casino' style in two widths, bridge and poker.
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Curator 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.
Pack of cards celebrating Allied Victory in the Second World War.
Sirocco, nautical themed playing cards by Riffle Shuffle Playing Card Co. and designed by Nathan Oser, 2020.
Great Britains’s Olympic gold medallists from 1964 to 2004 published by the British Olympic Association.
Another pack of Dutch costume playing cards c.1880.
Original designs from the French overseas department of Martinique by local artist Martine Porry.
Complete re-design of traditional pack into what the publishers considered to be ergonomically efficient.
Dutch costume playing cards made for the Dutch market in the second half of the 19th century.
Dubois card makers from Liège in the Walloon Region of Belgium.
Nederlands Stedenkwartet with heraldic needlepoint patterns by Permin, c.1970.
Luxus Skatkarte Nr.1134 printed by Brepols for Germany, c.1940s.
Polska with artwork by Katarzyna Tomala & Krzysztof Korzeniak, 2011.
Gilroy Special Edition Playing Cards to commemorate the centenary of the birth of John Gilroy, 1989.
Gilbert and Sullivan deck created by Don Jack using artwork from Players cigarette cards.
Benedicte Morand-Bail’s striking and colourful abstract poker deck with French named courts
Genoese pattern with Pictorial Aces for Brazil by Brepols, Turnhout, c.1920.
Railway Stations quartet game illustrated by Wim Dolk and published by Servex BV, Utrecht, 1975.
Dynastie Royale de Belgique by Mesmaekers, 1934.
Year of the Child commemorative deck designed by Jhan Paulussen, 1979.
Nationale-Nederlanden insurance company, 1984.
Bicentenaire de la Révolution Française 1789–1989 created by Christian Offroy.
Qantas Airways Limited is the flag carrier of Australia and is the world's third-oldest airline still in operation, having been founded in November 1920.
A collection of 24 cigar bands with miniature playing cards.
National Geographic Nature playing cards, 2006.
The Deck of Cards by Andrew Jones Art, 1979.
I Can’t Believe It’s Not Butter! promotional playing cards, 1997.
Classic Guinness Posters, 1999.
Beatrix Potter’s Rummy published by Gibsons Games, c.1985.
“007 Die Another Day” James Bond themed playing cards, 2002.
Spectrum Bridge by Cartamundi
Calavera playing cards designed by Jirs Huygen for Cartamundi, 2015
Desperanto language game by Qui Vive Ltd, c.1990.
Lovely Day for a Guinness deck published by Shamrock Gift Co Dublin, c.1980.
Promotional playing cards designed by Wim Simons, Belgium, 1960s.
Anonymous archaic Spanish Suited pack, c.1760
Lakeland playing cards by Stuart Lawrence depicting famous characters & views of England’s Lake District, c.1988.
Rat-a-Tat Cat illustrated by Roni Shepherd, published by Gamewright Inc, Boston, 1997.
Dutch singers, TV and theatre artist playing cards for “Story” magazine, 1978.
Promotional deck designed by Ray Goossens for the Boerenbond farmers’ union, c.1968.
“African Art” Playing cards by John J. Beckvermit III, 1994
Humorous pharmaceutical deck made by Antoine van Genechten for Bayer, c.1963.