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The earliest mention of playing-cards in Denmark dates from 1487 when King Hans, who reigned from 1481-1513 and was notorious for his gambling, again and again drew money from the treasury to pay for his losses.

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Animal Tarok by Jean Friedrich Mayer (1752-1783)

Animal Tarok by Jean Friedrich Mayer (1752-1783).

Animal Tarok by Jean Friedrich Mayer (1752-1783)

C.L.Keiblinger, Copenhagen 1852-85

C.L.Keiblinger, Copenhagen 1852-85

C.L.Keiblinger, Copenhagen 1852-85

Christian IV Anniversary

King Christian IV anniversary pack, designed by Thora Fisker and printed by L. Jevison Junior, 1988.

Christian IV Anniversary

Danish playing cards - Tarock trumps

Two versions of trump no.15 depicting the Thorvaldsen Museum.

Danish playing cards - Tarock trumps

Danish Tarok Cards - Holmblad, c.1850

The traditional animal images on tarok decks are here substituted by images of buildings from Copenhagen and the surrounding area. The deck had several editions, with each new edition updating the latest changes to the buildings that had taken place since the previous edition.

Danish Tarok Cards - Holmblad, c.1850

Danish Tarok Cards - Salomon & Co., c.1906

Danish Tarok cards published by S. Salomon & Co., Kjøbenhavn, c.1906.

Danish Tarok Cards - Salomon & Co., c.1906 1906

Dronning Margrethe II

Elegant, elongated cards designed by Queen Margrethe II of Denmark.

Dronning Margrethe II 1994

Gnav

cards from an early 'Gnav' game made by C.L.Keiblinger, Copenhagen c.1860

Gnav

History of Danish Playing Cards

The earliest mention of playing-cards in Denmark dates from 1487 when King Hans, who reigned from 1481-1513 and was notorious for his gambling, again and again drew money from the treasury to pay for his losses.

History of Danish Playing Cards

Holmblads No. 121

Holmblads No. 121 made by John Waddington, England, for Denmark

Holmblads No. 121

Jacob Holmblad c.1820

Standard woodblock and stencil deck produced by Jacob Holmblad with double-ended court cards in the tradition of the French ‘Paris’ pattern. The A♥ features a red over-stamp referring to Jacob Holmblad's royal license to print playing-cards which had been granted in 1820.

Jacob Holmblad c.1820

King Christian of Denmark

In 1935 a souvenir pack of playing cards to celebrate the King's 65th birthday was commissioned from the British firm of De La Rue.

King Christian of Denmark

L. P. Holmblad c.1840

L. P. Holmblad's house pattern used from c.1840. The K♠ carries a harp as in the traditional French-type cards; but the J♠ is sleeping with his arms folded and his shield resting behind him.

L. P. Holmblad c.1840

L. P. Holmblad, c.1845

Holmblad ordered his earlier designs to be re-drawn and updated. Comparison of packs from this era show instances where one figure is replaced by another more imposing version.

L. P. Holmblad, c.1845

L'Hombre No.60

Dondorf's “L'Hombre No.60” was manufactured for the Danish firm Adolph Wulff of Copenhagen between c.1910-1930.

L'Hombre No.60

Luxuskarte No.75

Stylistically, the deck fits easily into the Dondorf “luxury card” group. The deck has been produced for the Danish firm Adolph Wulff of Copenhagen, also for F. Tilgmann in Helsinki, and a Swedish version by Öberg & Son, Stockholm.

Luxuskarte No.75

Nederlands Stedenkwartet

Nederlands Stedenkwartet with heraldic needlepoint patterns by Permin, c.1970.

Nederlands Stedenkwartet 1970

P. Steinmann

Single-figure provincial Paris pattern cards with traditional names on the courts manufactured in Copenhagen by P. Steinmann, c.1820.

P. Steinmann

Standard Handa Pattern

Standard Danish playing cards made by Handa, Copenhagen.

Standard Handa Pattern

The Game of Four Queens

In 1988 the Danish School of Design set the examination project to design a pack of playing cards. Thomas Damkier designed this royalty deck, called “Dronningespillet” (Game of Queens).

The Game of Four Queens 1988

Warburg Luxus Bridgekort

“Luxus Bridgekort” was specially designed by Barbara MacDonald in a vibrant Art Deco style for Warburg of Denmark in c.1930, and printed by Universal Playing Card Co. Ltd (England).

Warburg Luxus Bridgekort 1930

Warburg’s Danske

Warburg’s Danske playing cards published by Aktieselskabet Emil Jensen, København, 1944.

Warburg’s Danske

Warburg’s Skandinaviske Bridge Kort

“Warburg’s Skandinaviske Bridge Kort” published by Aktieselskabet Emil Jensen, København, c.1935.

Warburg’s Skandinaviske Bridge Kort