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.

Browsing keyword:

american

14 Articles

Vanity Fair

Vanity Fair No.41 Playing Cards by the United States Playing Card Co, 1895. All the number cards have been imaginatively transformed.

Vanity Fair

Kem ‘Spanish’ playing cards

Kem ‘Spanish’ playing cards appear to depict Spanish conquistadors © 1994.

Kem ‘Spanish’ playing cards

Nu-Vue for TWA

Nu-Vue playing cards by Brown & Bigelow have novel courts and a special tint which are promoted as “the modern eye-saving concept in playing cards”

Nu-Vue for TWA

Charles Bartlet

Elaborate court cards on a deck by Charles Bartlet, Philadelphia, (who was in fact Samuel Hart) c.1845-60. The pip cards are double-ended. The date may be somewhere between c.1845-65.

Charles Bartlet

Brown & Bigelow

Brown & Bigelow of St Paul, Minnesota, was a leading producer of playing cards in the U.S. from the late 1920s - 1980s.

Brown & Bigelow

Inky-Dinky Playing Cards

A series of four decks designed by John Littleboy.

Inky-Dinky Playing Cards

Pack of Dogs

Pack of Dogs. Every card tells a story...

Pack of Dogs

Mermaid Queen

Mermaid Queen playing cards, from a series of four decks designed by John Littleboy, 2008

Mermaid Queen

Bag of Bones

Bag of Bones playing cards, from a series of four decks designed by John Littleboy, 2008.

Bag of Bones

Western PCC

The Western Playing Card Company was formed in 1927. The exact history and origins are not clear.

Western PCC

Congress No.606

Congress Playing Cards were first produced by the Russell & Morgan Company in 1881 as the finest and most expensive of their brands.

Congress No.606

Illuminated Playing Cards, c.1865

Facsimile edition of Andrew Dougherty's Illuminated deck, c.1865, published by U.S. Games Systems, Inc., and described as 'Civil War Illuminated Poker Deck'

Illuminated Playing Cards, c.1865

Jumbo Bridge 88

Cards with jumbo indices were introduced in 1895, and were given the subtitle '88'.

Jumbo Bridge 88

U. S. A.

The manufacture of playing cards in America only began during the second half of the 18th century, and not before 1776 by some estimates.

U. S. A.