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.

Pop Rocky

“Pop Rocky” miniature playing cards with double-ended caricatures of celebrities and pop stars, originally published inside a magazine, c.1970.

“Pop Rocky” miniature playing cards

Two uncut sheets of “Pop Rocky” miniature playing cards with double-ended caricatures of celebrities and pop stars, originally published inside a magazine, c.1970. Made in Belgium. Includes Jimi Hendrix, Mick Jagger, Elvis Presley, Cliff Richard, with the four Beatles as the Aces. Reverse: strawberry design with “Pop Rocky” logo in sunglasses. 36 cards.


avatar

By Simon Wintle

Member since February 01, 1996

View Articles

Curator and editor of the World of Playing Cards since 1996.

Recommended

Bone Playing Cards

Bone Playing Cards

My late mother found these miniature cards in a skip around 50 years ago.

Panto People

Panto People

Panto People published by E. S. & A. Robinson, c.1930s.

Hats-Off!

Hats-Off!

Hats-Off! miniature card game published by E. S. & A. Robinson, c.1930s.

Zoo-Boots

Zoo-Boots

Zoo-Boots published by E. S. & A. Robinson, c.1930s.

Gilbert and Sullivan

Gilbert and Sullivan

Gilbert and Sullivan deck created by Don Jack using artwork from Players cigarette cards.

Bandsman Snap

Bandsman Snap

Bandsman Snap by Chiefton Products Ltd of Bristol, c.1950s.

Musikinstrumente

Musikinstrumente

Musikinstrumente quartet game published by Verlag für Lehrmittel, Pössneck, 1984.

Gibbs Happy Families

Gibbs Happy Families

Gibbs Happy Families card game promotion, both full sized and miniature versions, c.1946.

Lever Brothers miniatures

Lever Brothers miniatures

Two miniature card games promoting Vim Scouring Powder and Sunshine Soap, 1930s.

Patience Cards and their Boxes

Patience Cards and their Boxes

Patience Cards and their Boxes by Tony Hall.

Musical Snap

Musical Snap

Musical Snap by C.W. Faulkner & Co., c.1900.

Monty Gum ‘Stars Play’

Monty Gum ‘Stars Play’

‘Stars Play’ card set published by Monty Gum, Leiden, 1988.

Musikalisches Kartenspiel

Musikalisches Kartenspiel

Facsimile of Dondorf’s “Musikalisches Kartenspiel” (c.1862) published by Lo Scarabeo, 2004

Spider Solitaire

Spider Solitaire

Spider Solitaire is a free web site offering new versions of the classic solitaire card game

Barribal patience

Barribal patience

Waddington’s Patience Cards from the Barribal Series, c.1929.

Hansa-Karte

Hansa-Karte

Bechstein design reprinted by Vereinigte Stralsunder Spielkartenfabriken AG former Schneider & Co., c1925.

Story Magazine

Story Magazine

Dutch singers, TV and theatre artist playing cards for “Story” magazine, 1978.

Bucktrout & Co. Ltd

Bucktrout & Co. Ltd

Half-sized cigarette playing cards published by Bucktrout & Co., Ltd (Guernsey) c.1930.

Tesseract Mobile Solitaire Games

Tesseract Mobile Solitaire Games

Tesseract Mobile’s new Solitaire card games for Android devices features dynamic playing cards that change style...

Prince of Wales National Relief Fund 1914

Prince of Wales National Relief Fund 1914

A two-pack patience set produced by Thomas De la Rue on behalf of the Prince of Wales National Relief Fund in 1914.

Piccadilly Patience

Piccadilly Patience

Piccadilly Patience by Piatnik, c.1955

Parisian Actors and Opera Singers

Parisian Actors and Opera Singers

Extraordinary ‘Actors and Opera Singers’ deck printed by Avril et Cie, Paris, c.1865

Nestlé ‘Happy Families’

Nestlé ‘Happy Families’

‘Happy Families’ published by Nestlé in 1935.

F. X. Schmid Mini-Patience

F. X. Schmid Mini-Patience

Miniature Patience playing cards in Rococo style published by F. X. Schmid, c.1960

Peter and the Wolf

Peter and the Wolf

Peter and the Wolf card game published by Pepys Games, 1947.

Milonguita

Milonguita

Naipes de Poker “Milonguita” featuring early Tango music score covers, Gardés Editorial, 2003.

British American Tobacco patience

British American Tobacco patience

Patience deck for British American Tobacco printed by Speelkaartenfabriek Nederland c.1940

Dogs

Dogs

‘Dogs’ playing cards showcases 52 canine portraits in four suits as authors, artists, musicians and film stars, illustrated by Chet Phillips, 2016

Black Tango

Black Tango

‘Black Tango’ playing cards with photographs of dancing couples published by Gardés Editorial, 2003.

Magic Poker Cards

Magic Poker Cards

“Magic Poker Cards” are often found inside Christmas crackers along with party hats, puzzles and jokes...

Sony Tape Rock ‘N’ Pop Playing Cards

Sony Tape Rock ‘N’ Pop Playing Cards

Deck featuring “18 Rock ‘n’ Pop” Superstars portrayed on the court cards and jokers by eight of Britain’s leading illustrators.

Chinese Roles of Beijing Opera

Chinese Roles of Beijing Opera

A very impressive deck of cards featuring 54 different images from “Chinese Roles of Beijing Opera” published by HCG Poker Productions, 2005

Permalon Ltd

Permalon Ltd

Miniature playing cards advertising "Perma" smoking-related products featuring the "Perma Girl" on the backs and Joker.

Czech Patience Cards

Czech Patience Cards

Patience size playing cards published by Obchodni Tiskarny of Prague, under the brand “Casino”, with cartoon courts in the style of wood engravings.

Miniature Disney deck

Miniature Disney deck

Mickey Mouse card game is part of a promotion for Rübezahl Schokoladen GmbH (Germany).

Wills Scheme

Wills Scheme

The W.D & H.O. Wills Playing Card promotion of the early 1930s

Löjliga Spel Kort

Löjliga Spel Kort

Facsimile edition of “Löjliga Spel Kort” (1825) illustrated playing cards from Sweden, showing scenes from Fredman‘s Epistles and Songs

Elvis Presley

Elvis Presley

Elvis Presley playing cards published by The United States Playing Card Company, c.2002

Billiken Minicartas

Billiken Minicartas

Children’s toy cards published in Argentina by Editorial Atlántida in the magazine “Billiken”, 1964.

Collecting Playing Cards

Collecting Playing Cards

How I began Collecting Playing Cards by Robert S. Lancaster