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Published September 26, 2023 Updated September 26, 2023

Kings of India playing cards

Kings of India playing cards depicting the four greatest dynasties of India.

2015 Canada India Humble Raja United States Playing Card Co. Bhavesh and Reena Mistry Dynasties Kickstarter Royalty Add to Collection

This pack was designed by Humble Raja, a Montreal-based design studio established by Bhavesh and Reena Mistry to investigate, celebrate and share their South Asian identity through illustration. It was funded through Kickstarter and printed by the United States Playing Card Company in 2015. See the box

The four greatest dynasties of India are illustrated in detailed black-and-white drawings on the court cards, while the elaborately designed Aces provide historical information. Hearts represent the Maurya Empire (the lions with an iron legacy, 322BCE – 185 BCE); Clubs - the Gupta Empire (rulers of the Golden Age, 320 CE – 550 CE); Diamonds - the Chola dynasty (the powerhouse from the south, 848 CE – 1279 CE); and Spades - the Mughal Empire (the extravagant Persian courts, 16th-19th century). Each court card reveals a legendary monarch of India, his queen and future successor. For more information see here

Kings of India playing cards designed by Humble Raja (Bhavesh and Reena Mistry) and printed by the United States Playing Card Company in 2015 Kings of India playing cards designed by Humble Raja (Bhavesh and Reena Mistry) and printed by the United States Playing Card Company in 2015
Kings of India playing cards designed by Humble Raja (Bhavesh and Reena Mistry) and printed by the United States Playing Card Company in 2015

Above: Kings of India playing cards designed by Humble Raja (Bhavesh and Reena Mistry) and printed by the United States Playing Card Company in 2015.

• See the 2 illustrated historical index cards

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By Peter Burnett

Member since July 27, 2022

I graduated in Russian and East European Studies from Birmingham University in 1969. It was as an undergraduate in Moscow in 1968 that I stumbled upon my first 3 packs of “unusual” playing cards which fired my curiosity and thence my life-long interest. I began researching and collecting cards in the early 1970s, since when I’ve acquired over 3,330 packs of non-standard cards, mainly from North America, UK and Western Europe, and of course from Russia and the former communist countries.

Russian Playing Cards

Following my retirement from the Bodleian Library in Dec. 2007 I took up a new role as Head of Library Development at the International Network for the Availability of Scientific Publications (INASP) to support library development in low-income countries. This work necessitated regular training visits to many sub-Saharan African countries and also further afield, to Vietnam, Nepal and Bangladesh – all of which provided rich opportunities to further expand my playing card collection.

Since 2019 I’ve been working part-time in the Bodleian Library where I’ve been cataloguing the bequest of the late Donald Welsh, founder of the English Playing Card Society.


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