There are many standard patterns in Europe that British people only come across when they are abroad (unless they are collectors), so I thought it would be useful to illustrate a number of these to help with identification. Since I no longer collect such packs, it's thanks again to Rex Pitts for supplying most of the scans.
There are basically three suit systems in Europe: French (spades, hearts, clubs, diamonds), German (leaves, hearts, acorns, bells), Italo-Spanish (swords, cups, clubs, coins). I illustrate each below.
Note that the Swiss suits are different from the German ones in two of them: shields, flowers, acorns and bells.
The Italian swords and clubs are often interlaced, whereas the Spanish ones are separated. The interlacing comes from the traditional tarot suit arrangements, though not all Italian regional patterns have this feature.
The Piacentine pattern with double-ended courts
And a selection of Spanish-suited cards (Neapolitan card in the centre)
All these systems of suit signs are used in the various standard regional patterns, a few of which I illustrate on other pages. The most comprehensive treatment of standard patterns is to be found in Sylvia Mann's All cards on the table/Alle Karten auf dem Tisch (1990, Jonas Verlag).
The English names of the French suit-signs are a strange mixture: pique is replaced by the borrowing of the equivalent Spanish suit-sign spade; cœur is translated directly as heart; trèfle is replaced by the translation of the equivalent Spanish suit-sign club; and diamond is anybody's guess (the French carreau means 'a paving tile').
To finish this post I'll illustrate a few more of the French-suited standard patterns.
Austrian pattern A with large crowns; oddly the box refers to "Französisches Bild", the name used in Germany for the Berlin pattern (see next item)
Berlin pattern, the North German version of the old Paris pattern
An earlier version by Lattmann, c.1900
Another early version by Stralsunder Spielkarten Fabriken
A version of the standard Berlin pattern (französisches Bild) by Stralsunder, c.1925. Note that the indices are a hybrid of English and German: K D J!!!
The Belgian version of the Paris pattern; this one was made by Artex, Budapest, with English indices. The same pattern is found in Genoa.
Dutch standard pattern; several of the courts are derived from the old Paris pattern
For some examples of earlier European standards with French suit-signs, see page 11. For further examples, see page 25.
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...
Standard Bohemian pattern designs by Bonaparte, Plzeň, Czech Republic, c.2000.
A five-suited set of playing cards published by Fleet and Case Games Ltd., Rainham, Kent, UK, c.1980.
Cards made by John Waddington Ltd. for the Madras Club, Chennai (formerly Madras), India, c.1930.
A set of advertising poster stamps for C.L.Wüst playing cards.
Jeu de 54 cartes, completely anonymous, designed to resemble locally produced French packs.
A brand name used in Norway over a number of years.
Standard English pattern pack made in Ecuador, c.1970.
Eurotrotter by La Ducale, c.1980s.
A great many regional patterns were exported from France and subsequently copied elsewhere. Some of them became local standards in their own right.
Five Suit Bridge was invented in Vienna in 1937 by Walter W. Marseille and Dr. Paul Stern.
Hindooly published by Chas Goodall & Son Ltd c.1904.
“Dvouhlavé Hrací Karty” (Czech Seasons playing cards) made by Obchodní Tiskárny, c.1980.
Animal suited playing cards engraved by the Master of the Playing Cards, Germany, c.1455
Whimsical Playing Cards by Turkish designer & illustrator Oksal Yesilok, 2016.
Round Europe card game by Pepys, 1958.
“XVI Century European Naval Powers” deck illustrated by Isabel Ibáñez de Sendadiano and produced by Heraclio Fournier in 1981.
One end Berlin pattern the other standard English pattern
Piatnik’s “Popular Playing Cards” No.257
Salzburger pattern by Ferd. Piatnik & Söhne, Vienna
Woolley & Co produced a range of different quality playing cards, and these “Second Harrys” are towards the cheaper end of the range.
Woolley & Co: “Eureka” playing cards with rounded corners, small index pips and decorative back design, c.1880-1885.
Sky card game published by Geo. Wright & Co, London, c.1905.
Who Knows? game of questions and answers produced by Adolf Sala Games, Berlin, c.1900.
‘Monic’ brand playing cards, c.1930s
28: How to Analyze and Differentiate Playing Card Plates (De La Rue, Waddington and the Berlin pattern [französisches Bild])
My interest in postage stamp variants led me to apply the same principles to playing cards.
There is a very interesting collection of playing cards held at the Strangers' Hall Museum in Norwich.
A brief survey of the different types of standard cards to be found in Continental Europe.
This pattern was used in various parts of eastern France but was ultimately replaced by the official ‘Paris’ pattern in c.1780.
A collecting game published in two series: the first series featuring Western Europe and the second series Eastern/Southern Europe.
Woodblock and stencil playing cards, produced by Reynolds & Sons c.1830-1850.
Playing Cards have been around in Europe since the 1370s. Some early packs were hand painted works of art which were expensive and affordable only by the wealthy. But as demand increased cheaper methods of production were discovered so that playing cards became available for everyone...
Standard playing cards are based upon traditional designs and are used for card games.
Cards from a Russian standard woodblock and stencil pack of circa 1820.
Naipes ‘American’ by M.C. de CASABÓ Ltda, Montevideo, c.1950.
Out of an apparent void, a constellation of references in early literature emerge pointing to the sudden arrival of playing cards, principally in Belgium, Germany, Spain and Italy around 1370-1380.