Chinese playing card makers, whether they be based on mainland China, Hong Kong, Taiwan or even Macau, have a reputation for imitation and replication fused with innovation which has produced perhaps the widest variety of joker playing card designs of any single part of the world.
Designs copied in whole or part from Western classic designs are chiefly limited to the more prolific, later American, British and Belgian classic designs by the US Playing Card Company, Waddington's, Cartamundi but also encompass designs by Consolidated-Dougherty, Arrco, Hoyle, Brepols, Biermans and Ducale.
Copies such as this Chinese version of the classic “Bee No 92" poker deck marketed under the brand name BCG are clearly copies rather than fakes.
While this anonymous copy of the classic Waddington’s standing jester is a poor quality fake in which no attempt has been made at originality.
Chinese versions are often easily spotted by the poor quality printing, paper, and the custom of producing one joker card in colour and another in monochrome or even just not coloured black and white, as this Arrco inspired Chinese pair illustrate.
The later Arrco laughing head jester inspired a run of Chinese imitations with their own adaptations.
The US playing card company standing jester was copied but incorporating the colouring of the Waddington's standing jester to produce novel variations.
But not as interesting as this design which takes the jester’s face, head, and collar together with the yellow banner from the Cartamundi classic jester, applied to a Chinese original generic unicycling style design.
More Carta Mundi copies.
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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.
Luxury packs of cards have been produced since the 15th century, a trend that is very popular among collectors today.
This deck is named after Armand Jean du Plessis de Richelieu, Cardinal-Duc de Richelieu (1585-1642), a French Roman Catholic Clergyman and statesman, Chief Adviser to King Louis XIII, noted for the authoritarian measures he employed to maintain power.
Schweizer Trachten No.174 (Costumes Suisses) by Dondorf.
Hand-drawn Transformation cards, c.1870.
This deck was inherited from ancestors, it has has a family history surrounding it. Details of the lives of previous owners make it all so fascinating.
Alice with artwork by Jesús Blasco, published by Lo Scarabeo, 2003.
Liberty playing cards designed by Antonella Castelli, published by Lo Scarabeo, 2003.
Baracca & Burattini puppetry deck printed by Dal Negro, 1998.
Sherlock Holmes deck with caricatures by Jeff Decker published by Gemaco Playing Card Co. 1989
Martin Mystère based on the comic book by Alfredo Castelli. The cards were designed by Giancarlo Alessandrini.
‘Seefahrers’ maritime deck designed by Klaus Ensikat for Deutsche Seereederei Rostock, GDR.
Ukiyo-E deck by Nintendo for Sanyo Enterprise Co.
Year of the Child commemorative deck designed by Jhan Paulussen, 1979.
The Maya Deck produced by Stancraft for Hoyle, 1976.
‘Einhorn’ designed by Richard König, c.1986.
I suppose people collect for different reasons, rarity, quality, ingenuity of design, sentimental value... by Tony Hall.
Case Study: using detective work to identify and date a pack discovered in charity shop.
Patience Cards and their Boxes by Tony Hall.
Bicycle Steampunk playing cards with Gothic artwork by Anne Stokes, 2015.
I collected playing cards when I was in primary school, by Jan Walls.
“Renaissance” playing card designs by A I Charlemagne, 1862.
Bicycle Knights playing cards designed by Sam Hayles in 2018.
This is an archive list of my collection. I hope it will be of use and interest to others.
“Is Card Collecting an Investment?” - an article by Rod Starling.
‘Friendly Felines’ playing cards designed by Azured Ox, 2017.
Gods of Egypt playing cards dedicated to the culture of Ancient Egypt.
Bicycle 808 Bourbon themed deck by US Playing Card Company 2017.
Alice in Wonderland playing cards designed by Sasha Dounaevski, 2018.
“Kaiserkarte” first published by Schneider & Co in 1895-1897 for the Imperial Court.
Age of Dragons by Anne Stokes, 2017.
Anne Stokes Collection playing cards, 2010.
Pack of 52 hand-drawn Jokers.
The Deck of Cards by Andrew Jones Art, 1979.
My wife and I have recently commissioned a unique pair of stained glass windows for our home.
Chinese playing card makers have probably produced the widest variety of jokers of any single part of the world.
An unknown deck by Ken McCarthy, c.2018.
“A Look Back with Hope for the Future” by Rod Starling
Les Grandes Figures de L’Histoire Bretonne
Kalevala playing cards by Sunish Chabba and Ishan Trivedi inspired by ancient Finnish mythology.
Hearts of London for British Heart Foundation 2009.