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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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Sweden

21 Articles

Swedish cards have characteristics in common with their Scandinavian neighbours

Sweden

Swedish cards have characteristics in common with their Scandinavian neighbours

Sweden

Majas Alfabets Spel

Majas Alfabets Spel beautifully illustrated by Lena Andersson, 1980s.

Majas Alfabets Spel

Löjliga Spel Kort

Facsimile edition of “Löjliga Spel Kort” (1825) illustrated playing cards from Sweden, showing scenes from Fredman‘s Epistles and Songs

Löjliga Spel Kort

Öbergs ‘Svenska Lloyd’

‘Svenska Lloyd’ shipping company playing cards published by J.O. Öberg & Son, Eskilstuna, c.1955.

Öbergs ‘Svenska Lloyd’

Åkerlund & Rausing

Swedish style pack by Åkerlund & Rausing, Stockholm, 1931-1937

Åkerlund & Rausing

Öbergs ‘Comedia’

Öbergs “Comedia” playing cards designed by Stig Lindberg from Sweden, c.1958

Öbergs ‘Comedia’

Four Centuries

“Four Centuries” playing cards by Esselte Öbergs with court cards depicted as caricatures from different historical periods.

Four Centuries

Olsen Smygvänliga

Olsen Spelkort Smygvänliga - Swedish pattern made by F.X. Schmid for Olsen

Olsen Smygvänliga

Offason “Beau”

Offason AB “Beau” playing cards designed by Åke Arenhill from Sweden, c.1990.

Offason “Beau”

Kille

‘Kille’, an old Swedish card game

Kille

Vasa Dynasty

The House of Vasa was the royal house of Sweden 1523–1654 and subsequent rulers have emphasized their Vasa descent through a female line

Vasa Dynasty

Requiem Playing Cards

This pack has been inspired by the Requiem Mass, a Mass celebrated for the souls of one or more deceased persons. The dark style of illustrations features occult symbols and imagery such as horns, hearts, thorns and skulls and the typography reflects ancient latin scripts.

Requiem Playing Cards

Salakuljettaja Smugglaren

Salakuljettaja Smugglaren is the Scandinavian version of Pepys’ “Contraband” published by Förlag Bildkonst, 1958.

Salakuljettaja Smugglaren

Granbergs No.101 Standardkort

Olle Hjortzberg (1872-1959) designed these playing cards for Granbergs AB in c.1924 in ‘Art Nouveau’ style.

Granbergs No.101 Standardkort

Einar Nerman Patience

Einar Nerman (1888–1983) was a talented Swedish artist born in Norrköping who designed playing cards during the 1920s.

Einar Nerman Patience

Grand Prix Champions

“Grand Prix Champions” printed by Offason.

Grand Prix Champions

Standard Swedish Pattern

Standard Swedish type playing cards manufactured by J.O. Öberg & Son, Eskilstuna, 1929.

Standard Swedish Pattern

Sweden

Swedish cards have characteristics in common with their Scandinavian neighbours

Sweden

Stefans Bercs

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

Stefans Bercs

‘501’ playing cards by Alf Cooke

“Five 'o One” playing cards, a version of the Dondorf Rhineland pattern, manufactured by Universal Playing Card Co. Ltd for export to Scandinavia.

‘501’ playing cards by Alf Cooke