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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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aces

11 Articles

Many modern aces of spades are anonymous so that, in the absence of any other information, the collector has difficulty deciding who made them.

Modern Aces of Spades

Many modern aces of spades are anonymous so that, in the absence of any other information, the collector has difficulty deciding who made them.

Modern Aces of Spades

72: The Ace of Spades

In standard English packs the Ace of Spades is associated with decorative designs. This is a historical survey of why this should be.

72: The Ace of Spades

Brazil Pictorial Aces

Genoese pattern with Pictorial Aces for Brazil by Brepols, Turnhout, c.1920.

Brazil Pictorial Aces

Arthur Lee & Sons Ltd

Advertising deck produced for Arthur Lee and Sons Ltd of Sheffield by Thomas De la Rue around 1958.

Arthur Lee & Sons Ltd

Waddingtons Aces of Spades, 1970 onwards

Waddingtons Aces of Spades, 1970 onwards

Waddingtons Aces of Spades, 1970 onwards

De la Rue’s 125th anniversary

In around 1955 De la Rue introduced a new coloured joker and a series of aces of spades with a silhouette of Thomas de La Rue which coincided with their 125th anniversary

De la Rue’s 125th anniversary

Fake Blanchard Ace of Spades

Fake Blanchard Ace of Spades with court cards based on Hall.

Fake Blanchard Ace of Spades

WW1 Commemorative

In 1919 Brepols commemorated the victories of World War I with two new packs featuring portraits of Allied leaders on the court cards and famous battle scenes on the Aces.

WW1 Commemorative

Brazil Scenic Aces

C. L. Wüst Scenic Aces for Brazil.

Brazil Scenic Aces

Swiss Scenic Ace Souvenir Cards, c.1850

Souvenir pack with Scenic Aces made by Müller (Diessenhofen), c.1850.

Swiss Scenic Ace Souvenir Cards, c.1850

Swiss Scenic Ace Souvenir Cards, c.1860

Souvenir pack with Scenic Aces made by J. Müller (Diessenhofen), c.1860. The courts are conventional figures based on French designs.

Swiss Scenic Ace Souvenir Cards, c.1860