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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.

69: My Collection

This is an archive list of my collection. I hope it will be of use and interest to others.

I thought it might be helpful to other collectors to have an archived version of the catalogue of my collection with illustrations to aid identification and dating. It will only be for standard English cards, but this covers a huge variety of designs and in some cases strange adaptations of the traditional figures. To keep descriptions to a minimum and to avoid uninteresting repetition, I shall not always refer to some basic features of many of the packs, in particular, standard ASs and jokers and back designs, unless they are of particular interest. I will illustrate a design by Owen Jones, but not always the backs of De La Rue Crown packs or Waddington's No.1, as they tend to be from a restricted range of single-colour designs. Boxes I may show, again if they are of particular interest. There won't be room to illustrate all the courts of every pack, but I'll choose the most significant ones, for instance to show whether there are six turned courts or not. The reference numbers of the designs are those of my books: The standard English pattern (reprint, 2016) and The British playing card industry 1600-2000: the makers and their products (2017). Any cards marked with an asterisk in the descriptions are missing.

It's a sad fact that most collections have disappeared without any preserved catalogue when their owners have died or given up collecting. The individual items are sold off piecemeal, so it becomes difficult to produce anything after the event. Sylvia Mann's collection is a case in point. Luckily, Paul Bostock has had the forethought to upload (nearly) all his collection onto his website https://plainbacks.com, so collectors can use the resource for their own purposes. So, maybe this present list will be useful in the future.

In the hope that it will be more user-friendly than a simple numerical list, I list the items by maker. In cases where I have few packs by one maker, I list by country of origin. The lists will be as below. Each list is linked to this page in a pdf format, in the same way as the Owen Jones pages were. In some cases there is a link on the appropriate blog page. Individual lists will be updated from time to time, either on the original list or on the Miscellaneous page.

American PCC/Caterson & Brotz/Western/Whitman: click here

Anderson/Porterprint/Jarvis Porter: click here

Australian miscellaneous: click here[Please note that the anonymous AS listed under item 1420 and its beer advert back are not Australian and are correctly listed under New Zealand.]

Austrian/Bohemian/Croatian/Czech/Finnish/Hungarian/Polish/Russian miscellaneous: click here

American miscellaneous: click here

ASS (West & East)/Altenburger/VSS: click here

Belgian miscellaneous: click here

Biermans/Brepols: click here

Blanchard/Gibson/Hunt/Bancks: click here

British Playing Cards/Universal/Alf Cooke: click here

Brotherton/Whitaker/Benda/Perry/Willis: click here

Brown & Bigelow/Stancraft/RCI/TDC: click here

Canadian miscellaneous: click here

Chicago/Eagle/Knickerbocker/North American/Union (Longley Brothers): click here

Chinese Part 1Part 2Part 3Part 4

Note: Part 1 deals with copies of USPCC's US3.1 & US4; Part 2 deals with copies of USPCC's US5 & Whitman's US5.1; Part 3 deals with copies of USPCC's US7; Part 4 deals with all other copies and homegrown designs.

Creswick: click here

De La Rue: Part 1Part 2

Dougherty: click here

Dutch, Scandinavian & Swiss miscellaneous: click here

Richard Edward/Games & Print Services: click here

James English: click here

English miscellaneous: click here

English wood block from smaller makers: click here

French miscellaneous: click here

German miscellaneous: click here

Goodall: Part 1Part 2

Hardy: click here

Hong Kong miscellaneous: click here

Indian miscellaneous: click here

Italian miscellaneous: click here

Japanese/Thai miscellaneous: click here

Legends PCCo/Expert PCCo: click here

McEvoy/Llewellyn/Hall/Hall & Bancks: click here

Mediterranean miscellaneous (Cyprus/Egypt/Greece/Israel/Malta): click here

Mesmaekers/Van Genechten: click here

Miscellaneous: Addenda, Corrigenda and Unidentified: click here

National/Perfection/Standard/Bay State: click here

New York Consolidated Card Co./Cohen/Lawrence & Cohen/Levy/Samuel Hart: click here

New Zealand miscellaneous: click here

Piatnik: click here

Reynolds: click here

Russell & Morgan/USPCC: click here

Russell/Kalamazoo/American Banknote Company: click here

South African miscellaneous: click here

South American and Mexican miscellaneous: click here

Spanish & Portuguese miscellaneous: click here

Taiwan miscellaneous: click here

Waddington Part 1Part 2

Woolley/Darling/Williams: click here

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By Ken Lodge

Member since May 14, 2012

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​I'm Ken Lodge and have been collecting playing cards since I was about eighteen months old (1945). I am also a trained academic, so I can observe and analyze reasonably well. I've applied these analytical techniques over a long period of time to the study of playing cards and have managed to assemble a large amount of information about them, especially those of the standard English pattern. Read more...

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