The World of Playing Cards Logo

Recent Changes

Archives

June 2024

Holidays – les côtes françaises 2024

Holidays – les côtes françaises

Holiday destinations around the French coast as depicted by Pauline Launay.

Warner Bros 100<sup>th</sup> Anniversary 2023

Warner Bros 100th Anniversary

An array of famous characters from Warner Bros films in celebration of the company’s centenary.

Qajar Dynasty playing cards

Qajar Dynasty playing cards

Qajar Dynasty playing cards, Iran, 19th century.

The Henry Hart Puzzle

The Henry Hart Puzzle

Explore the intricate history and unique design variations of Henry Hart's playing cards, tracing their journey from 18th-century England to America.

The Douce Collection

The Douce Collection

The Douce Collection of playing cards in the Bodleian Libraries, University of Oxford.

27: Cards at Strangers’ Hall, Norwich

27: Cards at Strangers’ Hall, Norwich

There is a very interesting collection of playing cards held at the Strangers' Hall Museum in Norwich.

Mullord Brothers

Mullord Brothers

The Mullord Brothers, Alick and Henry Mullord, innovative game designers and manufacturers, were renowned for their successful "Multum in Parvo" company, which significantly advanced the trade in games with their creative and popular products.

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.

Medizin Skat 1994

Medizin Skat

Promotional pack for a hospital group in the Saarland, with non-standard suits and courts designed by Detlef Krause.

Collectors’ Playing Cards for Sale

Collectors’ Playing Cards for Sale

Some interesting playing cards for sale.

73: Fakes, Forgeries and Tax Evasion

73: Fakes, Forgeries and Tax Evasion

When there are official taxes to pay, people will find a way to avoid paying them - often illegally.

Are Playing Cards a Good Investment?

Are Playing Cards a Good Investment?

Playing cards can appreciate modestly, with historical annual gains of 2-3%. Rare cards offer higher returns; condition and initial price impact value.

Seminole Wars deck by James Y. Humphreys, Philadelphia, c.1819

Seminole Wars deck by James Y. Humphreys, Philadelphia, c.1819

Court cards from the Seminole Wars deck by J. Y. Humphreys, Philadelphia, c.1819. Ace of Spades from Jazaniah Ford's Decatur deck, 1815. Jazaniah Ford was born in Milton (Massachusetts) in 1757

Samuel Hart, 1846-1871 1845

Samuel Hart, 1846-1871

Samuel Hart was a prolific manufacturer of playing cards who commenced business sometime around 1845 in Philadelphia. He had previously worked for L.I. Cohen.

Naipes Kukuxumusu 2006

Naipes Kukuxumusu

A 52-card Spanish-suited advertising pack for a clothing company in Pamplona.

Jack Daniel’s Playing Cards 1994

Jack Daniel’s Playing Cards

Jack Daniel’s™ Old Nº7 Gentlemen’s playing cards produced by Hoyle Products, USA, 1994.

Euskal Herriko Mitologia 2018

Euskal Herriko Mitologia

Important figures from Basque mythology, named in four languages.

Líneas rojas 2016 2016

Líneas rojas 2016

Semicaricatural images of Spanish politicians by Jordi Minguell, combined with non-standard suits.

Opernkarte I 1984

Opernkarte I

Humorous designs by Peter Becker on the theme of the Opera.

English cards from the reign of Charles II 1675

English cards from the reign of Charles II

This article explores a historic pack of English playing cards from circa 1675, likely used by King Charles II and Queen Catherine, detailing their significance, history and unique features

Jeu des 7 familles basques 2022

Jeu des 7 familles basques

A Happy Families-type game from the Basque country, with designs by Soledad Bravi and Agathe de Lastic.

Papua New Guinea

Papua New Guinea

Souvenir playing cards from the culturally diverse southwestern Pacific island of Papua New Guinea.

El Cid 9th centenary 1999

El Cid 9th centenary

Playing cards commemorating the IX centenary of the death of ‘El Cid’ designed by Vicente S. Algora.

Baraja Canaria 1995

Baraja Canaria

‘La Auténtica Baraja Canaria’ was published in 1995 by Justo Pérez as an expression of the history and character of the Canary Islands.

Baraja Canaria 1985

Baraja Canaria

Comic courts and non-standard suits representing the Canary Islands, with designs by Eduardo Millares Sall.

Deportistas Guipuzcoanos 1999

Deportistas Guipuzcoanos

Guipuzcoa’s best athletes of the twentieth century, playing cards sponsored by El Diario Vasco and Euskaltel, manufactured by Heraclio Fournier, 1999.

Baraja Gallega 2002

Baraja Gallega

Baraja Gallega designed by cartoonists and caricaturists Pinto Chinto (David Pintor & Carlos López) in 2002.

Baralla Galega 1983

Baralla Galega

'Baralla Galega' designed by X. Cobas and published by Imprenta Comercial Imprent S.A., La Coruña (Spain) in 1983

Baraxa Galega 1983

Baraxa Galega

Baraxa Galega designed by F. Perez Llamosas and published by Naipes Heraclio Fournier, 1983.

Baraja de Alava 1994

Baraja de Alava

55 different paintings by Emilio Lope depicting the history and culture of Vitoria and the province of Álava.

Playing Card Research Archives maintained by The Worshipful Company of Makers of Playing Cards

Playing Card Research Archives maintained by The Worshipful Company of Makers of Playing Cards

The Worshipful Company of Makers of Playing Cards maintains an extensive archive of materials from notable playing card researchers, available for study by arrangement in Bicester.

Postak – Las Postas 1996

Postak – Las Postas

‘Postak - Las Postas’ playing cards commemorating the history of the Basque postal service, Spain, 1996.

53: Some recent acquisitions and corrections

53: Some recent acquisitions and corrections

The following items are additions and alterations to my collection, the rest of which is listed on page 69.

Regional Cards: South-Eastern Asia

Regional Cards: South-Eastern Asia

Indonesia • Malaysia • Singapore • Thailand • Vietnam

Tô Tôm №1204 1900

Tô Tôm №1204

Tô Tôm is played with a 120-card Chinese-style deck.

A Million Dollar Tarot: The Alleyman’s Tarot 2023

A Million Dollar Tarot: The Alleyman’s Tarot

The Alleyman’s Tarot successfully raised $1,404,172 on Kickstarter. This unique 133-card deck includes a mix of traditional and non-traditional tarot cards, offering a new approach to tarot readings.

The Art of Erté 1983

The Art of Erté

Luxury playing cards displaying artwork by Erté, published in 1983 by Sobranie of London.

Chinese Playing Cards 中国纸牌

Chinese Playing Cards 中国纸牌

The Chinese took their cards with them wherever they travelled and traded in the East, and we find Chinese cards in use not only in the mainland but also in Hong Kong, Malaysia, Indonesia, Taiwan, Singapore, North Borneo and Vietnam.

Thai & Siamese Playing Cards

Thai & Siamese Playing Cards

The Portuguese were the first Westerners to trade with Ayutthaya in Thailand in the 16th century. Traders also arrived from India, Japan, the Arab world, England, Holland and France.

Go Green playing cards 2010

Go Green playing cards

Suggestions how to “go green” and help combat the impact of climate change.

Maya Deck 1976

Maya Deck

The Maya Deck produced by Stancraft for Hoyle, 1976.

Key West and the Florida Keys 2009

Key West and the Florida Keys

Key West and the Florida Keys playing cards with photography by Werner J. Bertsch and Larry Lipsky.

74: The Wills/Waddington gift scheme 1932

74: The Wills/Waddington gift scheme

The scheme to promote playing cards as gifts by means of inserts in Wills' cigarette packets apparently saved Waddington from their financial problems in 1931. Here are some details of the cards involved.

The Book of Trades by Jost Amman, 1588 1588

The Book of Trades by Jost Amman, 1588

The Book of Trades by the prolific German Renaissance artist Jost Amman (1539-91). Suits are books, printers' pads, wine-pots and drinking cups.

Ye Witches’ No.62 Fortune Cards 1896

Ye Witches’ No.62 Fortune Cards

Ye Witches Fortune Telling Cards published by the United States Playing Card Co., 1896. 52 cards + Joker + extra card in box.

The Chamber of 52 Cards 2006

The Chamber of 52 Cards

Playing cards published by Peter Wood as a tribute to the rock band Genesis.

Sevilla 1647 reproduction 1647

Sevilla 1647 reproduction

Facsimile of Spanish-suited pack produced in Sevilla, Spain, 1647.

Learn Thai 2009

Learn Thai

“Learn Thai” cards published by Lanna Innovation Co. Ltd, 2009.

North American wildlife playing cards

North American wildlife playing cards

From humid wetlands to frozen tundra, the wildlife in North America is extremely diverse.

Taxation on Spanish Playing Cards

Taxation on Spanish Playing Cards

Taxation on Spanish Playing Cards.

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.

41: A Guide to Dating Playing Cards

41: A Guide to Dating Playing Cards

Dating is a particularly tricky but very interesting problem to tackle and there are many pitfalls.

26: Playing Cards: Rarity, Value, Dating, Sellers and eBay

26: Playing Cards: Rarity, Value, Dating, Sellers and eBay

Notions like rarity and monetary value are slippery customers and need careful handling. And there are still plenty of misleading descriptions on eBay - as well as looney prices!

Is Card Collecting an Investment?

Is Card Collecting an Investment?

“Is Card Collecting an Investment?” - an article by Rod Starling.

Hummingbirds of the Americas

Hummingbirds of the Americas

Colour photographs of hummingbirds with data about each species to aid recognition.

Chinese Jokers

Chinese Jokers

Chinese playing card makers have probably produced the widest variety of jokers of any single part of the world.

Petit Etteilla cartomancy cards 1796

Petit Etteilla cartomancy cards

“Petit Etteilla” cartomancy cards designed and published by Jacques Grasset de Saint-Sauveur, Paris c.1796

Seashells playing cards

Seashells playing cards

Each card shows colour photo of a different seashell for easy identification.

And Marriage For All 2004

And Marriage For All

“And Marriage For All” playing cards promoting equal marriage rights for same-sex couples.

Alternative Happy Families 1985

Alternative Happy Families

An updated, 1980s-style “Alternative Happy Families” game.

Gibraltar

Gibraltar

Playing Cards in Gibraltar.

May 2024

Perspectives on the History of Tarot 1435

Perspectives on the History of Tarot

Tarot, originally a 15th century card game from Italy, has evolved into a form of personal mysticism and spiritual exploration, offering new visions of expanding awareness.

Hewson 1650

Hewson

Antique English woodblock playing cards by a card maker named C. Hewson, mid-17th century.

Atout Cœur! 1985

Atout Cœur!

Poster designs by children for an anti-smoking campaign in the Midi-Pyrenées region of France.

Quên Tarot 2022

Quên Tarot

A mystical voyage of love and self-discovery created by Duy Khánh Võ.

Why our playing-cards look the way they do

Why our playing-cards look the way they do

Analysis of early playing card designs: origins, suit differences, standardization, technological advancements and key innovations leading to modern designs.

Early Anglo-French Cards

Early Anglo-French Cards

Cards produced in Rouen during the sixteenth century. It was cards like these which were imported to England and are the ancestors of the modern 'Anglo-American' pattern.

Portrait Playing Cards

Portrait Playing Cards

Portrait playing cards, featuring realistic drawings of people on the court cards instead of traditional stylized figures, originated in the 18th century and continue to gain popularity.

Introduction to Collecting Themes

Introduction to Collecting Themes

Playing cards can be broadly categorised into standard and non-standard designs, with collectors appreciating their variety.

Charles Bartlet

Charles Bartlet

Elaborate court cards on a deck by Charles Bartlet, Philadelphia, (who was in fact Samuel Hart) c.1845-60. The pip cards are double-ended. The date may be somewhere between c.1845-65.

Kojak bubble gum cards 1978

Kojak bubble gum cards

Bubble gum cards featuring stills – mainly of Telly Savalas – from the cult TV series Kojak.

Victor Hugo 1885-1985 1985

Victor Hugo 1885-1985

Characters from novels by Victor Hugo marking the centenary of his death, as conceived by Dominique Asselot.

Discover trains of North America

Discover trains of North America

55 different Illustrations of railways and locomotives from the United States.

Victor Hugo “L’homme qui rit” 1985

Victor Hugo “L’homme qui rit”

Two different packs with costume designs for Victor Hugo plays, issued on the centenary of his death.

Les Beaux Étés 2017

Les Beaux Étés

Comic book characters who lead mundane lives, with designs by Jordi Lafebre.

Le Monde Primitif Tarot 2021

Le Monde Primitif Tarot

Facsimile edition produced by Morena Poltronieri & Ernesto Fazioli of Museo Internazionale dei Tarocchi, 2021.

I Tarocchi del Buongustaio 1996

I Tarocchi del Buongustaio

A less-than-serious set of major arcana on a gourmet theme, with designs by Cosimo Musio.

Haushaltgeräte 1981

Haushaltgeräte

Publicity pack for VEB Kombinat Haushaltgeräte, makers of household goods, with designs by Volker Hartmann.

Bibliography & References

Bibliography & References

The following works on Playing Card history and design have been consulted in preparing this website.

Mahjongg

Mahjongg

Mahjongg is usually played with tiles, which are Chinese playing cards made in solid form...

Traditional Cyprus Recipes 2024

Traditional Cyprus Recipes

Traditional recipes from Cyprus, with a small photo of each dish.

Tarocco Siciliano 1960

Tarocco Siciliano

The highly individual Sicilian Tarot has the Italo-Portuguese suit system with straight, interlocking swords and batons, and maids instead of jacks

Kimberley 1892

Kimberley

Kimberley’s Royal National Patriotic playing cards, c.1892-1905.

Cartes enfantines 1770

Cartes enfantines

Miniature 18th century Paris pattern cards for children, with decorated aces and 2s.

Scarfes Bar playing cards

Scarfes Bar playing cards

‘Scarfes Bar’ satirical playing cards with cartoons by Gerald Scarfe, United Kingdom.

Tarot for Baby 2022

Tarot for Baby

This board book simplifies tarot archetypes into accessible affirmations for young children.