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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.

Mini-Poker

Mini-Poker miniature playing cards made in China.

Mini-Poker miniature playing cards made in China

‘Chibi’ Mini-Poker miniature playing cards

Made in China by @pple Team   www.vipapple.com

Creative cartoon characters taken from popular comics and computer games, in the ‘Chibi’ style of drawing with oversized heads or child versions of characters.... the animations are simple and easy to understand, stimulating children's imagination, but are not naive...

“I think that the cartoon can only say is a relaxing thing ... it can stir up your memories of childhood, also make you immediately freed from the day's fatigue ... people each have their own hobbies, allows you to relax it is not naive. To put it plainly, watch cartoons, you have not yet contaminated by secular. You can also maintain a pure heart than others”.

Mini-Poker miniature playing cards made in China

Above & below: Mini-Poker miniature playing cards made in China.

See also: Miniature UNO card set


set produced for the WD & HO Wills scheme of the early 1930s
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By Simon Wintle

Member since February 01, 1996

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Curator and editor of the World of Playing Cards since 1996.

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Panto People

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Hats-Off!

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Zoo-Boots

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Gibbs Happy Families card game promotion, both full sized and miniature versions, c.1946.

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Two miniature card games promoting Vim Scouring Powder and Sunshine Soap, 1930s.

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Hansa-Karte

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Bechstein design reprinted by Vereinigte Stralsunder Spielkartenfabriken AG former Schneider & Co., c1925.

Bucktrout & Co. Ltd

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Half-sized cigarette playing cards published by Bucktrout & Co., Ltd (Guernsey) c.1930.

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Prince of Wales National Relief Fund 1914

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Piccadilly Patience

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Nestlé ‘Happy Families’

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F. X. Schmid Mini-Patience

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Piñón Fijo

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British American Tobacco patience

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Patience deck for British American Tobacco printed by Speelkaartenfabriek Nederland c.1940

Magic Poker Cards

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Starlight

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Hello Kitty

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Permalon Ltd

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Czech Patience Cards

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Patience size playing cards published by Obchodni Tiskarny of Prague, under the brand “Casino”, with cartoon courts in the style of wood engravings.

Miniature Disney deck

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Wills Scheme

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The W.D & H.O. Wills Playing Card promotion of the early 1930s

Mr. Men™

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Hello Kitty

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“Hello Kitty” playing cards published by Sanrio, manufactured in China, 2013

Noah’s Deck

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“Noah’s Deck” designed by Ljiljana Rylands, c.1990.

Billiken Minicartas

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Children’s toy cards published in Argentina by Editorial Atlántida in the magazine “Billiken”, 1964.

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Familles Provinciales

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Goodall & Son’s Patience & Miniature packs

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Modiano Patience

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Patience cards published by Modiano, c.1945.

Carte per Signora

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“Carte per Signora” patience pack was produced by Fratelli Armanino, Genova, in c.1897.

Birkel Schwarzer Peter

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The Birkel company has produced several promotional “Schwarzer Peter” packs over the years and this one is themed on the circus.

Pop Rocky

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“Pop Rocky” miniature playing cards with double-ended caricatures of celebrities and pop stars, originally published inside a magazine, c.1970.

Mustering of the Mustard Club

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The “Mustering of the Mustard Club” was one of many promotional items produced by Colman's for the Mustard Club which was launched in 1926.