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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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Belgium

79 Articles
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007 Die Another Day

“007 Die Another Day” James Bond themed playing cards, 2002. • Apr 01, 2018

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18: Belgian Cards: An Introduction

The card-makers of Turnhout were prolific in their output and inveterate copiers. • Oct 07, 2012

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21: Belgian Makers: Brepols and Biermans

Brepols started making playing cards in 1826, although he had been in the printing trade since 1800. In 1833 the firm was called Brepols & Dierckx (the former's son-in-law). Biermans (1875-1970) was a relatively late arrival on the Turnhout playing card scene. • Nov 08, 2012

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22: Belgian Makers: Van Genechten

Van Genechten started making playing cards in c.1840 and continued until the founding of Carta Mundi in 1970. • Nov 10, 2012

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23: Belgian Makers: Mesmaekers

Gustaaf Mesmaekers founded his business in 1859 in association with Louis-François Moentack, who left the business in 1862. • Nov 14, 2012

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A Todos Alumbra

40-card "A Todos Alumbra - Naypes Refinos" pack manufactured by Léonard Biermans, Turnhout, c.1880. • Apr 03, 2010

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Abbey Playing Cards

Abbey Playing Cards made in Belgium by La Turnhoutoise, c.1950s. • Aug 17, 2015

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Advertising deck for Carta Mundi

Advertising deck for Carta Mundi produced by Carta Mundi, 2001 • Oct 18, 2008

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Anon Spanish Cards c.1875

Spanish-suited playing cards made in Belgium by Léonard Biermans, c.1875 • Feb 22, 2016

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Anonymous Spanish Suited pack, c.1760

Anonymous archaic Spanish Suited pack, c.1760 • Nov 09, 2017

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Banque Nationale de Paris, c.1962

Special deck made for La Banque Nationale de Paris by Van Genechten, Turnhout, c.1962 • Nov 25, 2016

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Bayer

Humorous pharmaceutical deck made by Antoine van Genechten for Bayer, c.1963. • Aug 03, 2017

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Belgian Playing Cards

Belgian cardmakers have been actively designing and exporting playing cards since the 14th century. • Jan 01, 1970

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Belle Vue Gueuze

Promotional playing cards designed by Wim Simons, Belgium, 1960s. • Dec 28, 2017

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BG Bouw Building Company

BG Bouw Dutch Building Company publicity deck manufactured by Carta Mundi, c.1980. • Aug 16, 2016

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Biermans for the Estanco de Naipes del Peru

Standard Genoese pattern with French indices made by Biermans for Cigarrillo Holiday and the Estanco de Naipes del Perú. • Jan 01, 1970

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Biermans Genoese pattern

Biermans Genoese pattern for Clayson agricultural machinery, late 1960s. • Apr 06, 2017

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Boerenbond Veevoeders

Promotional deck designed by Ray Goossens for the Boerenbond farmers’ union, c.1968 • Aug 22, 2017

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Bongoût

One of the outstanding and most popular packs made by the Turnhout cardmakers was the Bongoût type. Special scenic Aces could be added to packs according to the client’s preferences. • Jun 06, 2010

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Brazil Pictorial Aces

Genoese pattern with Pictorial Aces for Brazil by Brepols, Turnhout, c.1920. • Dec 05, 2020

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Brepols

• Sep 17, 2012

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Brepols Genoese pattern

“Cartes Françaises” and Genoese pattern by Brepols. • Aug 18, 2015

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British Airways Concorde

British Airways Concorde playing cards made in Belgium by Carta Mundi, before 2003. • Sep 12, 2016

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Brussels Euro Joker Club 1998

Brussels Euro Joker Club's 10th Anniversary deck, with artwork by Yvette Cleuter, was produced in a limited, signed and numbered edition of 400 copies. • Jan 27, 2013

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Butagaz

“Butagaz” playing cards for the French gas company, c.1976 • Jul 20, 2017

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Calavera Playing Cards

Calavera playing cards designed by Jirs Huygen for Cartamundi, 2015 • Feb 15, 2018

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Carta Mundi

Carta Mundi was founded in Turnhout on 27 June 1970 by pooling the production and sales facilities of the three surviving companies: Brepols, Van Genechten and Leonard Biermans. • Jun 27, 2015

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Cartes de Luxe (1877) facsimile

‘Cartes de Luxe’ first published by Biermans in 1877 was reproduced in facsimile by Amstel Beer in c.1980. • Aug 19, 2016

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Cerveza ‘El Gallo’

Advertising pack for Cerveza ‘El Gallo’ made in Belgium, c.1880 • May 27, 2010

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Chi Chi Pai

Chinese “Chi Chi Pai” Playing Cards by Mesmaekers Frères for Far East market, c.1890. • Aug 13, 2015

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Cigar Bands

A collection of 24 cigar bands with miniature playing cards. • Feb 26, 2020

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Daveluy

Daveluy produced card games between c.1840 and 1890. Many of his playing cards have historical connotations and show figures with a landscape background. • Mar 20, 2014

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Dilkhus playing cards for India

Van Genechten was one of the most competent cardmakers in Turnhout and they produced almost every kind of foreign pack for clients all around the world. • Oct 28, 2012

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Domino Cards, c.1890

Domino Cards by Mesmaekers Frères, c.1890 • Aug 13, 2016

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Dubois

Dubois card makers from Liège in the Walloon Region of Belgium. • Dec 28, 2021

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Dynastie Royale de Belgique

Dynastie Royale de Belgique by Mesmaekers, 1934. • Nov 11, 2020

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Escalada y Vidiella, Montevideo c.1860

Cards from a 40-card pack made in Belgium by Antoine van Genechten exclusively for the firm "Escalada y Vidiella" based in Montevideo (Uruguay) in c.1860. • Jan 01, 1970

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Fake Blanchard Ace of Spades

Fake Blanchard Ace of Spades with court cards based on Hall • May 19, 2014

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Fondation Charcot Stichting

Multi-artist promotion deck for Le Fondation Charcot, a Multiple Sclerosis charity in Belgium, c.1990. • Dec 12, 2010

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Food Exchange

“Food Exchange“ playing cards designed by Ralph Dobson for the British Diabetic Association, 1973. • Mar 19, 2016

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Four Colour Cards / 四色牌 / Si Sek Pai

Four Colour Cards made in Belgium for Far Eastern markets • Aug 21, 2015

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Genever Giraf

Dutch pattern advertising deck for Genever Giraf made by Van Genechten in the 1950s. • Aug 17, 2016

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Jean Borin

‘Cartes de Luxe’ with artwork by Belgian artist and designer Jean Borin (1907-1997). • Dec 07, 2016

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Jeu de Cartes No.1

Henri Meunier was a Belgian Art Nouveau lithographer, etcher, illustrator, bookbinder and poster designer of the Belle Époque. His first introduction to art was in his father's workshop; then he completed his art studies at the Academy d'Ixelles. • Aug 23, 2012

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John Player Special

John Player Special non-standard playing cards created by the illustrator Nick Price, 1987 • Oct 05, 2014

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L’union fait la force

“L’Union Fait la Force”, sometimes known as “the Allied pack”, has the four suits dedicated to the victorious nations of the Second World War. • Apr 26, 2013

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Le Jeu des Alliés

“Le Jeu des Alliés” manufactured by Mesmaekers N.V., Turnhout, 1945. • Jun 08, 2016

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Léonard Biermans, Turnhout

Léonard Biermans had been employed by Brepols from 1871-1874 before opening his own playing card factory in 1875. • Apr 04, 2010

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Lion Brand No.1492 : Jet Fuel

Advertising deck for "Jet" fuels, and "Lion Brand" No.1429 manufactured in Belgium by Biermans, 1960s. • Jun 01, 2015

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Luxus Skatkarte Nr.1134

Luxus Skatkarte Nr.1134 printed by Brepols for Germany, c.1940s. • Feb 26, 2021

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M/S Kronprins Harald

Souvenir of Jahre Line Ferry M/S Kronprins Harald • Oct 01, 2016