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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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Czechoslovakia

20 Articles

Czech Patience Cards

Patience size playing cards published by Obchodni Tiskarny of Prague, under the brand “Casino”, with cartoon courts in the style of wood engravings.

Czech Patience Cards

Dudák

Dudák, meaning ‘Piper’, is a traditional Czech card game and this set has been specially illustrated for children.

Dudák

Historic Ships

“Historic Ships” quartet game from Czechoslovakia illustrated by Jaromír Vraštil.

Historic Ships

Čierny Peter

Four themed ‘Čierny Peter’ card games by Obchodní Tiskărny.

Čierny Peter

Castles Quartet

“Castles” Quartet Illustrated by Vladimir Kovářík.

Castles Quartet

Derby

‘Derby’ card game from Czechoslovakia.

Derby

Detektiv Fuk

‘Detektiv Fuk’ card game from Czechoslovakia

Detektiv Fuk

Casino No.240

Piatnik-Ritter No.240 - Obchodní Tiskárny Casino No.240.

Casino No.240

Czech Insurance Company pack

Czech Insurance Company cartoon pack

Czech Insurance Company pack

Kamarát Toy Cards

Kamarát miniature toy playing cards from Czechoslovakia.

Kamarát Toy Cards

Bohemian Pattern

The Bohemian Pattern, sometimes called the Prager Pattern, has roots in the 16th century.

Bohemian Pattern

Czechoslovakia

The Republic of Czechoslovakia was founded in 1918 from the former Austro-Hungarian empire.

Czechoslovakia

Czech Hussite Deck

Czech “Hussite” Pack engraved by Karel Hoffmann and first printed by Jan Ritter in 1895.

Czech Hussite Deck

Prague 1908 Jubilee

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

Prague 1908 Jubilee

Ritter & Cie, 1933

A colourful re-working of the standard Anglo-American pattern in Art Deco style.

Ritter & Cie, 1933

Ceska Graficka Unie AS

Playing Cards printed by Ceska Graficka Unie AS, Czechia, Prague, 1890-1925.

Ceska Graficka Unie AS

OTK Bridge-Rummy

OTK Bridge-Rummy by Obchodní Tiskărny, c.1990.

OTK Bridge-Rummy

Eagle Playing Card Co. Limited

Cards from std English pattern printed by The Eagle Playing Card Company Limited, Czechoslovakia, c.1900. The cards are in imitation of American cards, but probably for the UK market.

Eagle Playing Card Co. Limited

Czech Nationalistic playing cards

During the 19th century growing nationalist sentiment led to a rejection of Austro-Hungarian culture in favour of that of the native Czech people. One outcome from this movement was a ‘Nationalistic’ pack of playing cards painted by Emanuel Neumann.

Czech Nationalistic playing cards