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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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Latvia

14 Articles

Estonia's first period of independence lasted 22 years, beginning in 1918, and this period was one of great cultural advancement.

Estonia

Estonia's first period of independence lasted 22 years, beginning in 1918, and this period was one of great cultural advancement.

Estonia

Four Races

“Four Races” playing cards designed by Latvian artist Vilnis Rasa in 1989.

Four Races

Latvia Art

Playing cards designed by artist Larisa Kovalass-Kovalevska on the theme of the Latvian folk epic “Lāčplēsis”.

Latvia Art

Zole

Alfreds Scwedrevitz playing card designs used to advertise Zole Vodka but which were never published.

Zole

Orija Nr.20

Reprint of “Lettische Trachten” deck first published in Latvia in 1918.

Orija Nr.20

Privātā

The editors of “Privātā Dzīve” magazine conceived the idea for this new pack, which was designed by artist Lidmila Bulikina and printed by LGL Stils, Ltd in June 2001.

Privātā

Karlis Krauze

Latvian Patience Cards designed by Karlis Krauze, mid 1930s

Karlis Krauze

Black Peter, c.1940

Black Peter card deck for children printed in Riga during World War II, believed to have been designed by a Latvian artist.

Black Peter, c.1940

Alfreds Scwedrevitz

This pack was issued during wartime, in 1936, under the name “Latvian Red Cross Cards No.7”.

Alfreds Scwedrevitz

Estonia

Estonia's first period of independence lasted 22 years, beginning in 1918, and this period was one of great cultural advancement.

Estonia

Latvian Playing Cards

The best Latvian playing cards were produced just after independence, during the period 1921-1942.

Latvian Playing Cards

Karlis Padegs

Karlis Padegs (1911-1940) was a Latvian artist who designed 17 playing cards in 1936 - joker, aces, kings, queens and jacks.

Karlis Padegs

Rihards Zarinš

Playing cards designed by Rihards Zarinš, 1921. Latvian indices and with heraldic and hunting motifs reminiscent of the countries' ancient history and folklore.

Rihards Zarinš

Stefans Bercs

In 1923 a competition was announced for a new Latvian pack. The winner of this competition was Stefans Bercs.

Stefans Bercs

Reinholds Kasparsons

Reinholds Kasparsons, a popular Latvian illustrator of the day, designed this pack which was published as The Best Quality Playing cards No.1 in 1932.

Reinholds Kasparsons