The World of Playing Cards Logo

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.

Browsing country:

Germany

238 Articles

Card-playing rapidly became popular in medieval Bavaria and German printers were quick to supply the goods.

German playing cards

Card-playing rapidly became popular in medieval Bavaria and German printers were quick to supply the goods.

German playing cards

C.L. Wüst, 1811 - 1927

SPIELKARTENFABRIEK VON C.L. WÜST, 1811 - 1927. A short history of the Wüst factory by Martin Shaw & Paul Symons.

C.L. Wüst, 1811 - 1927

Schwarzkopf BC Bonacure

Schwarzkopf BC Bonacure playing cards promoting the ultimate hair perfection.

Schwarzkopf BC Bonacure

J. W. Spear and Sons: ‘Zoology’

Quartet games with scientific illustrations became popular during the Victorian and Edwardian eras. J. W. Spear and Sons Zoology quartet game is a lesson in natural history.

J. W. Spear and Sons: ‘Zoology’

Comical Dominoes

Comical Dominoes game manufactured in Germany by J. W. Spear & Sons, early 1900s

Comical Dominoes

Folklore

“Folklore” by Altenburger Spielkarten Fabrik, c.1982

Folklore

Miniature Disney deck

Mickey Mouse card game is part of a promotion for Rübezahl Schokoladen GmbH (Germany).

Miniature Disney deck

Poker Faces by Alex Elsen

Poker Faces playing cards were illustrated by Alex Elsen and published by Verlag Um Die Ecke, Germany, 2015

Poker Faces by Alex Elsen

The Muppet Show

“The Muppet Show” playing cards made by ASS Altenburger in 1978.

The Muppet Show

Olsen Smygvänliga

Olsen Spelkort Smygvänliga - Swedish pattern made by F.X. Schmid for Olsen

Olsen Smygvänliga

Wüst “Encyclopedic Tarot”

“Encyclopedic Tarot” by C. L. Wüst with “bourgeois” views of life on the Trumps.

Wüst “Encyclopedic Tarot”

Carl Arnold Transformation

Transformation playing cards designed by Carl Johann Arnold (1829-1916), the court artist for King Friedrich Wilhem IV of Prussia

Carl Arnold Transformation

Klipp Klapp Karten

“Klipp Klapp Karten” printed by KZWP-Trefl (Poland) for Kindermuseum Oelde (Germany) in 2004

Klipp Klapp Karten

Spielkarte für Schützen

“Spielkarte für Schützen” deck designed by Karl Heinz Lanz, published by Rudolf Bechtold and Co., c.1966

Spielkarte für Schützen

Polit-Poker 1984

“Polit-Poker” designed by Bubec (Lutz Backes), 1984.

Polit-Poker 1984

Alice in Wonderland Snap

Alice in Wonderland “Snap” 1 penny game from 1920s or 30s, made in Germany, anonymous manufacturer.

Alice in Wonderland Snap

North German pattern

The North German pattern appeared in the mid-19th century, derived from the French ‘Paris’ pattern,

North German pattern

Bavarian Pattern

Bavarian single-ended pattern by Vereinigte Altenburg-Stralsunder Spielkarten-Fabriken A-G., c.1937

Bavarian Pattern

Who Knows?

Who Knows? game of questions and answers produced by Adolf Sala Games, Berlin, c.1900.

Who Knows?

Wilhelm Busch (1832-1908)

Wilhelm Busch was a German caricaturist and humourist who lived from 1832-1908. There are many card games made in Germany using his characters.

Wilhelm Busch (1832-1908)

Fipps der Affe

“Fipps der Affe“ (Fipps the Ape) quartet game with cartoons by Wilhelm Busch published by Bielefelder Spielkarten GmbH, c.1960.

Fipps der Affe

Lustiges Quartett

Lustiges Quartett Wilhelm Busch published by Franz Schmidt, Nuremberg, 1937.

Lustiges Quartett

Schwarzer Peter Quartett

“Schwarzer Peter Quartett” game published by VEB Altenburger Spielkartenfabrik with cartoons by Wilhelm Busch.

Schwarzer Peter Quartett

Der Lohn des Fleisses

“Der Lohn des Fleisses”, a children's card game designed by Wilhelm Busch (1832-1908).

Der Lohn des Fleisses

Humouristic Quartett

“Humouristic Quartett” families game produced by Adolf Sala of Berlin

Humouristic Quartett

Schwarzer Peter

Art Deco style “Schwarzer Peter” card game published by Vereinigte Altenburger und Stralsunder Spielkarten-Fabriken A.G., Stuttgart.

Schwarzer Peter

Fairy Tales

German Fairy Tales Card Game.

Fairy Tales

Das Lustige Familien Quartett

“Das Lustige Familien Quartett” published by Eugen Schmidt K.G., Dresden, c.1930s

Das Lustige Familien Quartett

Walt Disney “Schwarzer Peter”

Walt Disney “Schwarzer Peter” game published by Vereinigte Altenburger und Stralsunder Spielkarten-Fabriken A.G.

Walt Disney “Schwarzer Peter”

Figures Amusantes

French language edition of a children's quartet game published by B. Dondorf, c.1900, consisting of 40 amusing illustrations of birds and animals with humorous captions.

Figures Amusantes

Pierre l’Ebouriffé

Heinrich Hoffmann (1809-1894) wrote the Struwwelpeter stories in 1847 for his son Carl. The stories quickly became famous and were translated into many languages...

Pierre l’Ebouriffé

Fruits et Légumes

The beautiful artwork in Dondorf's “Fruits et Légumes” quartet game reminds us of the benefits of natural food.

Fruits et Légumes

La Zoologie

Dondorf's “La Zoologie” card game no.335 features a collection of 40 chromolithographic prints of species of animals from around the world

La Zoologie

Jeu des Fleurs

Dondorf no.332: ‘Jeu des Fleurs’ French edition

Jeu des Fleurs

Wappen-Quartett

A coat-of-arms quartet game published by B. Dondorf, c.1900

Wappen-Quartett

Birkel Schwarzer Peter

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

Birkel Schwarzer Peter

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

Le Progrès de la Circulation

The beautiful images in this quartet game published by Jeux Spear in 1933 depict the progress of transport and travel since early times up til the 1930s.

Le Progrès de la Circulation

Graf Zeppelin

A card game commemorating the first round the world flight by the Graf Zeppelin, published by J.W. Spear & Söhne, Nuremberg, in 1930.

Graf Zeppelin

Spear’s Old Maid

Spear’s “The Jolly Game of Old Maid” was introduced around 1900. The cards contain some interesting but harmless social stereotypes from the end of the Victorian era.

Spear’s Old Maid

Swiss Costumes

Wüst's Swiss Cantons souvenir deck was published in Frankfurt in c.1875 for the emerging tourist market.

Swiss Costumes

Old Bavarian pattern

Uncut sheet of playing cards of the Old Bavarian pattern by Michael Schatzberger, Passau, 1780

Old Bavarian pattern

Cotta Transformation playing cards

In 1804, J.C. Cotta, a publisher and bookseller in Tübingen, Germany, produced the first set of transformation cards that was published as an actual deck of playing cards.

Cotta Transformation playing cards

German Saxon Pattern

The German Saxon Pattern or “Schwerdter Karte”.

German Saxon Pattern

Munteres Mogeln

Munteres Mogeln (Cheerful Cheating) in-flight card game for Lufthansa.

Munteres Mogeln

Animal Tarot

Woodblock and stencil Animal Tarot cards, probably of German origin, 2nd half 18th century.

Animal Tarot

Deutsches Schützenfest 1884

This deck was apparently made to commemorate a Shooting Festival held in Leipzig in 1884

Deutsches Schützenfest 1884

Otto Tragy Jugendstil Spielkarten

Special Jugendstil playing cards designed by Otto Tragy and first published by Altenburger Spielkartenfabrik Schneider & Co. in c.1898.

Otto Tragy Jugendstil Spielkarten

Badische Spielkartenfabrik

Sports-themed playing cards published by Badische Spielkartenfabrik, Baden, c.1930

Badische Spielkartenfabrik

Luxus Skatkarten

The cards are from a facsimile edition published by F. X. Schmid, Munich, in 1981. The artist is unknown, but the artwork follows the tradition of German playing card design and conveys a vivid sense of emotion, sensuality and vitality.

Luxus Skatkarten