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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.

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Austria

67 Articles

The Vienna pattern, or Wiener Bild, is a distant relative of the early Lyons pattern. The King of Hearts carries a scroll in his hand.

Wiener pattern

The Vienna pattern, or Wiener Bild, is a distant relative of the early Lyons pattern. The King of Hearts carries a scroll in his hand.

Wiener pattern

Black Peter

Two Black Peter games by Willy Mayrl published by Ferd Piatnik & Söhne, 1950s.

Black Peter

Österreichisches Trachten-quartett

Österreichisches Trachten-quartett Nr.282 published by Ferd Piatnik & Söhne.

Österreichisches Trachten-quartett

Schwarzer Peter no.964

Schwarzer Peter no.964 published by Josef Hohlweg, Vienna, early 20th century.

Schwarzer Peter no.964

Black Peter

Black Peter card game designed by Willy Mayrl for Piatnik.

Black Peter

Le Destin Antique

Le Jeu du Destin Antique, originally published by Grimaud in XIX c., republished many times since...

Le Destin Antique

Gulliver’s Travels

Gulliver’s Travels card game no.293 published by Piatnik, c.1950.

Gulliver’s Travels

Baby Dolls

Baby Dolls pinup deck designed by Willy Mayrl, published by Piatnik, 1957.

Baby Dolls

Tell Wilmoś

Facsimile of ‘Wilhelm Tell’ Hungarian deck by Salamon Antal, Keczkemét, 1860.

Tell Wilmoś

Schwarzer Peter mit Hundebildern

Humorous dog-themed Black Peter game illustrated by Willy Mayrl, c.1960.

Schwarzer Peter mit Hundebildern

Tyrolean Playing Cards

Facsimile of patriotic 1878 Tyrolean playing cards published by Piatnik in 1992.

Tyrolean Playing Cards

Notgeld - Emergen¢y Money

Notgeld - Emergency Money - was in rare cases issued on playing cards.

Notgeld - Emergen¢y Money

Folklore No.169

Austrian Folklore deck first published by Piatnik in 1934.

Folklore No.169

Goal Fußball Spielkarten

“Goal” Fußball Spielkarten manufactured by Ferd. Piatnik & Söhne Wien, c1930s.

Goal Fußball Spielkarten

Mary Queen of Scots

Mary Queen of Scots and other Tudor period dignitaries, published by Piatnik, 1990.

Mary Queen of Scots

Cosmopolitan № 2121 playing cards

“Cosmopolitan” № 2121 playing cards designed by Russian artist Valeri Mishin, 1996

Cosmopolitan № 2121 playing cards

Bourgeois Tarot by Piatnik 1987

Piatnik’s ‘Bourgeois Tarot’ in a version published in 1987 with nice quality images, especially the double-ended trump cards.

Bourgeois Tarot by Piatnik 1987

Piatnik No.97

Non-standard French-suited cards published by Ferd Piatnik & Sõhne, Vienna, c.1940s

Piatnik No.97

Austrian Wine

Skat deck for Austria’s excellent wines, Österreichischer Weinwirtschaftsfonds, c.1965

Austrian Wine

Piccadilly Patience

Piccadilly Patience by Piatnik, c.1955

Piccadilly Patience

Rococo Playing Cards

Piatnik’s Rococo style playing cards issued as “Rococo Patience”, “Luxus-Patience”, “Empire Patience”, “White Horse Patience”, “Patience-Whist No.140”, “Mini Patience” and “Lady Patience”

Rococo Playing Cards

Kaiser Jubiläum

Kaiser Jubiläum Imperial playing cards made in Austria by Ferd Piatnik & Sons, Vienna

Kaiser Jubiläum

Baroque No.2118

“Baroque” by Ferd Piatnik & Sons, Vienna, reflecting a bygone era of fashion.

Baroque No.2118

48: Ferdinand Piatnik & Sons

Ferd. Piatnik produced a very large range of cards with many different standard and non-standard patterns. This is a survey of his standard English output.

48: Ferdinand Piatnik & Sons

Popular No.257

Piatnik’s “Popular Playing Cards” No.257

Popular No.257

Salzburger Pattern

Salzburger pattern by Ferd. Piatnik & Söhne, Vienna

Salzburger Pattern

Die Neue ÖVP

Promotional deck for the Austrian People’s Party (ÖVP) printed by Piatnik, 1996.

Die Neue ÖVP

Tarot of Musterberg

Designed by Cesare Asaro to simulate decks from the 1700s or earlier, the Tarot of Musterberg is based on the traditional Tarot de Marseille but with an imaginary historical background.

Tarot of Musterberg

Tarok c.1900

Piatnik & Söhne “Industrie und Glück” Tarok c.1905-1910.

Tarok c.1900

Shakespeare by Piatnik

‘Shakespeare’ playing cards by Piatnik designed by the British actor Donald Burton

Shakespeare by Piatnik

Tops and Tails

‘Sports Tops and Tails’ No.290 manufactured by Ferd Piatnik & Sons, Vienna, c.1950s.

Tops and Tails

France Royale Bridge

“France Royale” Bridge playing cards by Willy Mayrl depict historical characters from France’s royal past.

France Royale Bridge

El Jokey by Piatnik, 1990s

‘El Jokey’ Spanish-suited pack by Piatnik & Sons, Vienna, 1990s

El Jokey by Piatnik, 1990s

Jugendstil Tarock

‘Jugendstil Tarock’ was designed by Ditha Moser and first published by Albert Berger and Josef Glanz in 1906.

Jugendstil Tarock

Jugendstil Art Nouveau Bridge

“Jugendstil Art Nouveau” Bridge Nr.2136 published by Piatnik, 1980.

Jugendstil Art Nouveau Bridge

Vienna Melange

“Vienna Melange” Playing Cards by Piatnik with a historical feel representing the four races that make up the cultural background of Vienna

Vienna Melange

Austrian Cartomancy Cards

During the 19th century a system of fortune telling arose in Europe using unnumbered, pictorial cards depicting popular imagery with subtitles in several languages.

Austrian Cartomancy Cards

Art Deco Gypsy Oracle

Art Deco fortune telling deck published by Piatnik, 1936.

Art Deco Gypsy Oracle

Fair Play

Fair Play budget brand by Piatnik first appeared c.1950 before disappearing in c.1990.

Fair Play

Prague 1908 Jubilee

This special pack of playing cards, published in 1908, was available at the Jubilee Exhibition held in Prague.

Prague 1908 Jubilee

Cocktail

Aluminium playing cards manufactured by Häusermann United Chemical and Metal Engraving Co., Vienna, c.1925

Cocktail

Rummy No.210

Period cartoon images from the 1930s. The Kings are in fancy dress ready to party, the Queens appear ready for socialising whilst the Jacks are already on the go.

Rummy No.210

Löschenkohl’s Botanical Playing Cards

Löschenkohl produced a second copper engraved deck, the Botanical Playing Cards, in 1806. This deck, as well as the Musical Playing Cards, were produced shortly before Löschenkohl’s death.

Löschenkohl’s Botanical Playing Cards

Soldaten Tarock

Piatnik was known for their magnificent quality of chromo-lithographic printing, and this facsimile, or reprint, of “Soldaten Tarock No. 217” is virtually as magnificent as the original.

Soldaten Tarock