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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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Europe

7 Articles

Eurotrotter

Eurotrotter by La Ducale, c.1980s.

Eurotrotter

63: The descendants of the French regional patterns: 1

A great many regional patterns were exported from France and subsequently copied elsewhere. Some of them became local standards in their own right.

63: The descendants of the French regional patterns: 1

Round Europe

Round Europe card game by Pepys, 1958.

Round Europe

European Naval Powers

“XVI Century European Naval Powers” deck illustrated by Isabel Ibáñez de Sendadiano and produced by Heraclio Fournier in 1981.

European Naval Powers

16: European Standard Playing Cards

A brief survey of the different types of standard cards to be found in Continental Europe.

16: European Standard Playing Cards

Kingdoms of Europe

A collecting game published in two series: the first series featuring Western Europe and the second series Eastern/Southern Europe.

Kingdoms of Europe

Early References

Out of an apparent void, a constellation of references in early literature emerge pointing to the sudden arrival of playing cards, principally in Belgium, Germany, Spain and Italy around 1370-1380.

Early References