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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.

Spectrum Bridge by Cartamundi

Spectrum Bridge by Cartamundi

Apart from the varied index and suit colours the deck is completely standard. Four-colour decks made for bridge or whist are often called ‘no-revoke’ decks and are said to help reduce eye strain, make it easier to sort your cards and reduce the risk of accidentally mis-playing a card. See the Box

Spectrum Bridge by Cartamundi Spectrum Bridge by Cartamundi

Above: Spectrum four colour Bridge by Cartamundi. Images courtesy Matt Probert.

Different coloured suit symbols had been patented in USA on Nov 23, 1926, by Antoine Lefebure of San Francisco, with the assertion that “even experienced players confuse clubs and spades; hearts and diamonds”  here

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By Matt Probert

Member since March 02, 2012

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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.

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