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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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15 Articles
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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. • Feb 03, 2013

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Globe Card Company

“Globe Playing Cards” patented on Oct. 6, 1874 by I. N. Richardson. • Oct 21, 2014

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Gunfighters playing cards from the Wild West Series by SPCC, 2018. • Feb 20, 2019

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McDonald’s Playing Cards

McDonald’s playing cards by the United States Playing Card Co., Cincinnati, c.1997 • Mar 15, 2015

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National Card Co.

The National Card Co. was formed in c.1886 by Samuel J Murray, who as a young man had worked in England in Charles Goodall's playing card factory. In 1881 he moved to Cincinnati and became an employee of Russell & Morgan playing card manufacturers. In 1886 he left Russell & Morgan and moved to India... • Jun 01, 2010

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Native American Warriors

Native American Warriors from the Wild West Series published by SPCC, 2018. • Feb 18, 2018

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President Suspender

An historic American advertising deck for the C. A. Edgarton Mfg Company, manufacturers of the President Suspender (known as “braces” in England) depicting U.S. Presidents and First Ladies on the courts. • Apr 04, 2013

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Riders of the Range

Riders of the Range by Pepys, 1953. • Sep 28, 2016

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Roundup card game by Whitman Publishing, 1951. • Sep 27, 2020

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Southern Pacific Souvenir

Southern Pacific Souvenir of the Golden West playing cards - Sunset, American Canyon and Shasta Routes - published by the Interstate Company exclusively for Southern Pacific News Service, c.1915. • Jul 27, 2015

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State Historical Society of Wisconsin

Souvenir deck from the State Historical Society of Wisconsin containing photographs from museum collections and archives on each card. • Nov 18, 2015

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Steamboats No.99

Steamboats No.99 was one of a number of brands produced by the American Playing Card Co. of Kalamazoo. • Feb 27, 2013

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Superman World Hero™ playing cards made in Belgium by Carta Mundi • Apr 09, 2015

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The Steamboat Brand

The theme of steamboats navigating up and down the Mississippi also extended to the cotton plantations alongside the river and to African American people employed therein who were sometimes depicted on the special Joker card. • Feb 28, 2013

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Wild West

Wild West card game published by Pepys, 1963. • Oct 10, 2012