Anonymous archaic Spanish Suited pack, c.1760
The Swiss national suit system of shields, acorns, hawkbells and flowers originated sometime during the fifteenth century.
Primitive Latin suited pack, possibly of Swiss or German origin for export to Spain, dated by paper analysis as early XV century, which makes this one of the earliest known surviving packs of playing cards.
Antique deck of old Bohemian playing cards of the German type manufactured by Georg Kapfler and dated 1611.
These cards may be a typical example of early 'standard' Spanish playing cards, maybe from before Columbus sailed for the 'New World' which were imitated by German engravers who wished to export their wares back to Spain.
Joan Barbot, San Sebastian c.1765-1810
The so-called ‘Dragon Cards’, with winged monsters on the four Aces, are an enigmatic aspect of early playing card history.
Animal suited playing cards engraved by the Master of the Playing Cards, Germany, c.1455
These two uncoloured, uncut sheets of early Moorish playing cards were formerly preserved in the Instituto Municipal de Historia in Barcelona. They were first brought to light by Simon Wintle in 1987.
Inspired by an archaic Spanish pattern formerly used in Spain during the 16th and 17th centuries.
Navarra Pattern produced for the Pamplona General Hospital Monopoly.
Navarra pattern produced for the Pamplona General Hospital Monopoly in 1682.
49 assorted cards were found hidden in the lintel of a doorway, in an old building in Toledo, during demolition, and are now preserved in the the Museo de Santa Cruz de Toledo.
Archaic, late medieval Spanish-suited playing cards printed by Phelippe Ayet, c.1574
English printers used Rouen court cards as inspiration for their own cruder, more stylized decks. The style of the costumes on English playing cards is late medieval, being descended from the Rouen models.
Decks are made up on two-ply pasteboard which reproduces the tactile quality of antique cards. Suits are Coins, Cups, Swords and Batons.
Cards from a pack of an early form of north Italian playing cards, with the swords back-to-back and curved outwards. Believed to be Venetian, dated 1462.