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Published May 31, 2016 Updated March 14, 2022

49: De La Rue in detail

A detailed presentation of the variants of De La Rue's standard cards.

United Kingdom De la Rue Collecting Courts

Some people may ask, with justification, "How can I be so certain about my statements, particularly as regards dating?" The answer lies not simply in the length of time I've been collecting and observing cards, but in the background information that's available (sometimes rather limited) and the cards themselves. The task is to relate the cards to the background circumstances to give an overall picture of how a maker's cards developed. I have already dealt with De La Rue's cards on page 5 and page 28, but here is the database of cards I have. The three- and four-digit numbers on a blue ground and in square brackets in the text are my catalogue entry numbers; some images have no numbers, as they are of packs no longer in my possession. For a complete list of all the De La Rue packs in my collection, including those with Goodall courts and Waddington courts, click the links: part 1 / part 2

Above: D3: [1746] with a non-Jones back, c.1855; [1601] with post-Frizzle AS, c.1863

On the basis of a number of packs celebrating the wedding of Queen Victoria and Prince Albert it is possible to see that they were popular and were produced over several years in the Old Frizzle period. They were presumably discontinued after Albert's death in 1861. All the following courts are found with this back design: D2, D3, D3.1 and D4.

Above: DLR Queen Victoria's Wedding.

Another version of the Victoria had double-ended courts and floral backs.

D3.2, c.1855

Above: D5: [1550] with Prince of Wales wedding backs, c.1872 (not the first edition); with similar backs, c.1870

Above: D6: [1661] anonymous AS, plain faces, green backs; [1501] with coloured faces; c.1880

Above: D6: [1747] bézique set, same backs, QD bodice curlicue variants: "S S" left; "S Z" right (usually "Z S"), double-ended pips, c.1878

I have a bézique set [1663] with matching backs from 1890, but one pack has the smallest indices and the other has the medium ones. Dated packs/sets which can be relied on for their authenticity are very valuable in getting an overview of chronology. The set indicates some overlap of use of the two types of index around 1890. The 1887 Jubilee pack [1349] has the smallest indices with aces represented by 1.

The medium-sized indices were in 1902 in the Coronation pack for Edward VII; the larger ones were used in the De La Rue special pack for the Worshipful company of 1904. There was no doubt some overlap between the two types of index.

The earliest dated example of D9 I know is the 1919 Peace pack. The latest dated De La Rue cards I know with D9 courts is 1927, so some time around this date the De La Rue design was discontinued and the Goodall design was used in all packs. Such packs are dealt with under the Goodall design (page 12). In the 1940s there were also De La Rue packs with Waddington courts, as illustrated on page 12 (under Goodall).


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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1970 Grand Slam

Grand Slam

Limited edition gift set issued to mark the American Bicentennial, 1776-1976, produced by John Waddington Ltd and the Bristol Pottery for the British American Bicentenary Group, 1970.

1975 Waddingtons Nursery Rhymes

Waddingtons Nursery Rhymes

Nursery rhyme playing cards by Waddingtons, Leeds, UK, 1975.

2001 South Park Playing Cards

South Park Playing Cards

South Park characters and famous one-liners, by Carta Mundi for Hasbro Int. Inc., 2001.

1980 Pentacards


A five-suited set of playing cards published by Fleet and Case Games Ltd., Rainham, Kent, UK, c.1980.

1960 Souvenir Views of Scotland Playing Cards

Souvenir Views of Scotland Playing Cards

52 selected views of Scotland by De La Rue (Waddingtons) for GlenAlan Ltd, Glasgow, Scotland, c.1960s.

1911 The Jovial Cards

The Jovial Cards

Publicity items for a group of entertainers, Southend-on-Sea, Essex, UK, 1911.

1930 Waddington’s “Silkette” Playing Cards

Waddington’s “Silkette” Playing Cards

Cards made by John Waddington Ltd. for the Madras Club, Chennai (formerly Madras), India, c.1930.

2002 Highland Hospice

Highland Hospice

54 different personalities from the city of Inverness published by the Highland Hospice.

2017 Edinburgh Festival Fringe

Edinburgh Festival Fringe

Edinburgh Festival Fringe programme covers from 1956 to 2016 published by Winning Moves UK Ltd.

2010 Cape Wrath

Cape Wrath

Images from the Ministry of Defence Cape Wrath Training Centre, Sutherland, Scotland. Published 2010.

2014 Vesalius Anatomy Card Game

Vesalius Anatomy Card Game

Celebrating the work of Andreas Vesalius in the quincentenary year of his birth.

2005 Team GB

Team GB

Great Britains’s Olympic gold medallists from 1964 to 2004 published by the British Olympic Association.

2015 David Kindersley Centenary

David Kindersley Centenary

Celebration of the work of David Kindersley, stone letter-carver and typeface designer. Published by the Cardozo Kindersley Workshop, Cambridge, UK, 2015.

2003 Official England Rugby Playing Cards

Official England Rugby Playing Cards

Pack celebrating the rugby world champions of 2003. Produced by MMcardz.

2001 Rare Stamps of the World

Rare Stamps of the World

Fifty-five rare stamps of the world in full colour, published jointly by David Feldman SA of Switzerland and Tower Philatelic, USA, 2001.

1965 El Al Airlines

El Al Airlines

Pack designed by Jean David (1908-93) for El Al Airlines. The courts are named after Biblical characters.

Luxury Collectable Playing Cards

Luxury Collectable Playing Cards

Luxury packs of cards have been produced since the 15th century, a trend that is very popular among collectors today.

1705 Royal Cards Reign of Queen Anne

Royal Cards Reign of Queen Anne

“Royal Cards Reign of Queen Anne” cover historical events, both honourable and treacherous, during the period 1702 to 1704.

Hall & Son

Hall & Son

Hall & Son

1850 Fortune-Telling Cards

Fortune-Telling Cards

Comic Fortune-Telling Cards published by Reynolds & Sons, c.1850.

1850 Comic Question & Answer cards

Comic Question & Answer cards

Comic Question & Answer cards by Josh. Reynolds & Sons, circa 1850.

1824 Myriorama


Myriorama of Italian scenery, 1824.

1870 Transformation Cards for Christmas

Transformation Cards for Christmas

Hand-drawn Transformation cards, c.1870.

Playing Cards: A Secret History

Playing Cards: A Secret History

Playing Cards: A Secret History

A. Camoin & Cie

A. Camoin & Cie

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.



Sergeant-Major card game devised by W.G.Smith

Rex Pitts (1940-2021)

Rex Pitts (1940-2021)

We are deeply saddened by news of the passing of Anthony Rex Pitts (1940-2021).

Pepys Games

Pepys Games

The Story of Pepys Games by Rex Pitts

J. W. Spear and Sons

J. W. Spear and Sons

Jacob Wolfe Spear founded his company manufacturing fancy goods in 1879 near Nuremberg in Bavaria, Germany

Chad Valley Co. Ltd

Chad Valley Co. Ltd

Chad Valley Co. Ltd (incorporating Johnson Brothers (Harborne) Ltd, the long-established UK brand bought by Woolworths in 1988 and now sold at Argos.

Multum in Parvo Co., Ltd

Multum in Parvo Co., Ltd

Multum in Parvo published a range of indoor games during the period from 1884-1927.

1954 Ariel Productions Ltd

Ariel Productions Ltd

The founder of Ariel Productions, Philip Marx, was a prolific publisher of children’s books and comics towards the end of and just after the Second World War.

Kum-Bak Sports, Toys & Games

Kum-Bak Sports, Toys & Games

Kum-Bak Sports, Toys & Games MFG Co., Ltd, London S.E.11

1950 Crazy People

Crazy People

Crazy People children’s card game illustrated by caricaturist and graphic artist Walter Trier, c.1950.

1912 Panko


Panko (Votes for Women) suffragette card game published by Peter Gurney Ltd, c.1912.



Anonymous Snap game, 1930s.

Panto People

Panto People

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



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

1930 Zoo-Boots


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

1875 XIXth Century

XIXth Century

The XIXth Century published by John Jaques & Son, c.1875.