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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.

Domino Cards, c.1890

Domino Cards by Mesmaekers Frères, c.1890

Domino Cards by Mesmaekers Frères, c.1890

These children’s Domino cards were produced by Mesmaekers for the Far Eastern markets. Mesmaekers registered a number of trademarks for their export card wrappers to provide legal coverage in the event of plagiarism. The two tigers trademark (right) was first registered in September 1887 (renewed 1933).

The two tigers trademark first registered in September 1887
Domino Cards by Mesmaekers Frères, c.1890

Above: Domino Cards by Mesmaekers Frères, c.1890

Wrapper for Domino Cards by Mesmaekers Frères, c.1890
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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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Domino Cards, c.1890

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