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.

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South Africa

5 Articles

Mr Bok

The Merry Game of Mr Bok and his Happy Families, promoting Bok furniture polish, 1930s.

Mr Bok

Castle Lager

Castle Lager playing cards, c.2012.

Castle Lager

Sandton City

African tribal mask playing cards for Sandton City, Johannesburg.

Sandton City

The Blue Train (Bloutrein)

“The Blue Train” playing cards from the luxury train service in South Africa.

The Blue Train (Bloutrein)

Protea Bridge 999

Bridge size deck with non-standard suit colours, blue diamonds & green clubs, manufactured by Protea Playing Card Company, Johannesburg.

Protea Bridge 999