As is quite obvious to any collector of playing cards, makers copy each others' designs. It is, however, a complicated issue since there are varying degrees of copying that can take place. A maker might try to copy an original design exactly. Before the days of photography and electronic scanning exact copies were not possible. Photographic methods of reproduction don't seem to have featured in the manufacture of cards very much. Today, on the other hand, a manufacturer can make an exact replica of someone else's design from the other side of the world, simply by scanning the original. So the term 'copy' covers a whole range of reproductions from close to slightly similar. Some makers' designs are taken as models quite widely. Three of the most commonly copied designs from 1900 onwards are those of Goodall, New York Consolidated Card Co (NYCCC) and USPCC's modern version of a NYCCC design used in their poker cards. This must to some extent reflect patterns of exportation. To start with I will illustrate some Goodall copies. G4 was copied by an anonymous maker, probably Belgian, for a round-cornered Isle of Man pack. It is a very close copy, but is not from Goodall plates.
Samuel Hart, the American maker, used the same design but changed several details, such as the hair-styles and faces. Note that the two jacks that don't have moustaches in the Goodall original sport one in this version.
Samuel Hart, c.1870
At around the same time the Eagle Card Co., classified as part of the Longley group by the Dawsons, used a very similar version. This examples shows that it is difficult to know in any particular case who used the copied design first and who copied it afterwards. Note the jacks' moustaches again.
Eagle Card Co., c.1870
Goodall's G6, used by them from c.1900 until c.1930, was copied even more.
G6 copy by Amirayan, Egypt, c.1936
This is a very close copy as well, but not from Goodall plates. These close copies are sometimes misinterpreted as coming from Goodall's factory, but the plates are the key and if they don't match exactly, then they can't be by Goodall (or whatever maker is relevant). In fact, it is possible to suggest a reason for copying in this case. The tobacconist's firm, Carvelli Frères of Cairo, had cards made for them by De La Rue in c.1935-39 using genuine G6 courts. The local firm, Amirayan, simply copied these in order to produce cheaper cards.
Tricklico pack by De La Rue for Egypt, c.1935 (see bridge no trump score)
De La Rue's redrawing of Goodall's bridge-width cards (GD10) was also used occasionally as a model.
The English firm C.H. Gee, who made a few advertising packs in the 1930s, used GD10 as a model, changing details of the clothing and the style of index.
De La Rue/Goodall GD10, c.1930
C.H. Gee, c.1930
An interesting copy was made by Van Genechten in which all the courts were turned, so they were copied 'as is' to produce the reverse image. These cards were made in the 1930s for export to India, many to be used as temple offerings. A large consignment was stuck in Belgium at the outbreak of World War II. (Don't believe anyone who dates them as 1890 or earlier, just because they're square-cornered and indexless.)
Van Genechten, c.1935
A recent acquisition provides an interesting example of a Goodall-based design in a pack which purports to be American-inspired. The pack is by María Gonzalez Rizzo of Cadiz; it's square-cornered with a back design based on a USPCC one with a biplane at each end. Oddly, the brand is called "Monoplano"! The joker is based on Goodall's design with a redrawn head and with 'OS' in each left-hand corner, like the American 'US'. So an odd mixture.
And here's a very recent double pack made in Taiwan for Ted Baker, which is a copy of the Italian versions of Goodall (Dal Negro, Modiano, Cambissa, etc.). One pack has courts in red, black and gold, the other in green, black and gold, with the red suits all green.
There's another version, made for Ridley's Games Room series, with the courts in just red and dark blue; none of the kings or jacks has a moustache.
Taiwan for Ridley's, 2014
It's interesting to see how certain versions of a design get established as a kind of local standard. This Italian version of Goodall's design is still used as a model for new versions. Moda of Trieste, a relative newcomer to the playing card scene, is a good example. The faces are redrawn, but the clothing is more of less the same as the older makers.
The same version of the design has been used as a model for a Croatian pack by Grafiko-Grafoprint with some interesting reinterpretations of the attributes. For example, the JS has a decoratively tipped spear (rather than the incomprehensible development of most standard English packs), and the JC's weapon looks more like a harpoon than the original arrow. The JD is drawn with a small black area below his curls, which gives the appearance of a neck inside his clothing, another invented feature.
One final example of a less exact copy of Goodall's design is furnished by the Thai Playing Card Factory.
The wide-size cards are still in production and so is a bridge version, where the courts have been compressed by computer. (The bar codes are for dealing at a bridge tournament.)
For a description of a visit to the Thai factory and other Thai cards, see https://www.wopc.co.uk/thailand/playing-cards-factory►
For another Thai design, see page 3 of this blog.
Sometimes designs are a mixture of some elements from one maker and others from another. An example using some Goodall characteristics as well as some of Waddington's design is that of KZWP, Krakow, whose cards have been imported into the UK since the 1960s, and are now marketed under the name of Trefl.
Here we see that the JD is based on that of Goodall, whereas the KC is based on Waddington's. The QH has elements of both designs, for instance, an undulating collar design from Waddington and long sleeves with a heart design from Goodall. The JC does its own thing but has elements of Waddington's design as well, e.g. the arrow decoration and the cloak edge at the left.
The NYCCC design, originally derived from De La Rue's D5 via several redrawings and with six turned courts, has also been widely copied.
NYCCC US6.1, c.1900
Anonymous copy of about the same period
Below are three slightly different versions of the JD by NYCCC followed by nine copies from a variety of makers.
From top left to bottom right these are: 1 the anonymous copy illustrated above; 2 Willner Brothers, Czechoslovakia, c.1920, an odd version in which all courts except for the red jacks are turned and switched as to their suits; 3 Piatnik, c.1925; 4 Van Genechten, c.1910; 5 Brepols, c.1920; 6 Stralsunder, c.1930; 7 Piatnik Kaffeehaus, extra large, c.1950; 8 ASS, c.1970; 9 Protea, South Africa, modern.
The later redrawing of US6.1 resulted in the design they use for most of their wide-size cards, US7. This is copied widely, especially in the Far East.
Chinese copies of USPCC's current poker cards with minor variation, c.1970-present
Further Chinese copies with greater variation, c.1970-2000
The USPCC originals are illustrated on pages 1 & 43 of the blog.
Member since May 14, 2012View Articles
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...
Dutch costume playing cards made for the Dutch market in the second half of the 19th century.
Khanhoo by Charles Goodall & Son, 1895.
Rainbow card game and colour mixing guide printed by Goodall & Sons for Robert Johnson, c.1920.
Case Study: using detective work to identify and date a pack discovered in charity shop.
Some further material relating to cards from nineteenth and twentieth century periodicals.
“Ocean to Ocean” Canadian Pictorial Souvenir pack by Chas Goodall & Son Ltd, c.1912.
Ocean to Ocean Souvenir of Canada by Chas Goodall & Son Ltd, c.1905.
Worshipful Company Pack manufactured by Chas Goodall & Son, 1893.
There are some interesting packs from Goodall in the last quarter of the 19th century.
“Pasha” is one of Charles Goodall’s brands which first appeared in c.1898 and was retained until after the De la Rue takeover.
Hindooly published by Chas Goodall & Son Ltd c.1904.
Humorous pharmaceutical deck made by Antoine van Genechten for Bayer, c.1963.
There are references to “progressive whist” or “whist drives” during the 19th and early years of the 20th century but this form of the game came into its own during the 1920s and 30s.
Historic Shakespeare with courts featuring Shakespearean characters, Chas Goodall & Son.
The following items are a selection of what has come my way over the past two to three years.
The Isle of Man has always been a tax haven within the British Isles and it has also had some interesting packs of cards.
Special deck made for La Banque Nationale de Paris by Van Genechten, Turnhout, c.1962.
Derby Day race game published by Parker Games’ English subsidiary at Ivy Lane, London, from 1908 to around 1920.
Dutch pattern advertising deck for Genever Giraf made by Van Genechten in the 1950s.
Two similar but fascinatingly different hand-drawn transformation decks by the same artist, c.1875
Standard English pattern manuf’d for L.N. Mann by Van Genechten, c.1890.
Advertising decks made in Belgium by A. Van Genechten, 1960s.
History.of Whist and Gaming Counters and Markers from the 18th Century to modern times.
The United States Playing Card Co. (USPCC) represents an amalgamation of all the major American card-makers of the late 19th and early 20th centuries
The “New Game of Our Ship”, published by Chas Goodall & Son, London, 1896.
Goodall’s earliest cards were traditional in appearance but in around 1845 ‘modernised’ courts were designed
Goodall & Son’s Patience & Miniature packs came in various styles of box and back design, c.1890-1930.
After the Old Frizzle period and the tax was reduced to 3d per pack, from 1862 onwards, a number of makers started up, who hadn't made cards before, although they were part of the paper and pasteboard industry.
María González Rizzo (1926-1940) followed in her father's business producing Spanish-suited brands such as “Los Dos Tigres”, “La Española” and an Anglo-American style deck titled “El Monoplano”
Some copies of the designs of Goodall and the New York Consolidated Card Co.
There is a very interesting collection of playing cards held at the Strangers' Hall Museum in Norwich.
Van Genechten first registered an Ace of Spades for English playing cards in 1885 followed by the ‘Sailor’ Joker.
Goodall’s “Japanesque” brand was used for stationery products since around 1880 but these playing cards were added to the range in around 1900.
A magnificent example of Goodall & Son’s range of chromolithographed Commemorative playing cards from the late nineteenth century..
A wide size version of De Luxe No.142 had been published in c.1920, with a similar Ace of Spades and Joker, but which was never very popular.
“Lighthouse No.922” playing cards were introduced in c.1920.
There have been at least three different versions of the Triton deck, with different Jokers, different styles of court cards and slight differences in the lettering on the Ace of Spades and/or Joker. The cards were advertised as “double enameled”.
Van Genechten started making playing cards in c.1840 and continued until the founding of Carta Mundi in 1970.
An initial survey of 19th century playing-card production. More detailed information appears on other pages.
Van Genechten was one of the most competent cardmakers in Turnhout and they produced almost every kind of foreign pack for clients all around the world.