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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.

Browsing keyword:

Archaic

21 Articles
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Anonymous Spanish Suited pack, c.1760

Anonymous archaic Spanish Suited pack, c.1760 • Nov 09, 2017

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Antique Swiss Playing Cards, c.1530

The Swiss national suit system of shields, acorns, hawkbells and flowers originated sometime during the fifteenth century. • Jan 01, 1970

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Baraja Morisca

Primitive Latin suited pack, possibly of Swiss or German origin for export to Spain, dated by paper analysis as early XV century, which makes this one of the earliest known surviving packs of playing cards. • Jan 01, 1970

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Francisco Flores

Playing cards in this style have been discovered in various parts of the world, suggesting that they were exported or carried there by early explorers or merchants. • Mar 26, 2007

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Georg Kapfler

Antique deck of old Bohemian playing cards of the German type manufactured by Georg Kapfler and dated 1611. • Mar 13, 2017

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Gothic Spanish-suited cards

These cards may be a typical example of early 'standard' Spanish playing cards, maybe from before Columbus sailed for the 'New World' which were imitated by German engravers who wished to export their wares back to Spain. • Jan 31, 2010

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Joan Barbot

Joan Barbot, San Sebastian c.1765-1810 • Nov 04, 2011

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Malta

The so-called ‘Dragon Cards’, with winged monsters on the four Aces, are an enigmatic aspect of early playing card history. • Aug 11, 2013

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Master of the Banderoles

Playing Cards by the Master of the Banderoles, one of the earliest professional printmakers, c.1470 • Dec 04, 2011

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Master of the Playing Cards

Animal suited playing cards engraved by the Master of the Playing Cards, Germany, c.1455 • Feb 07, 2017

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Moorish playing cards

These two uncoloured, uncut sheets of early Moorish playing cards were formerly preserved in the Instituto Municipal de Historia in Barcelona. They were first brought to light by Simon Wintle in 1987. • Jan 31, 2010

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Naipes ‘La Criolla’ by Anabella Corsi

Inspired by an archaic Spanish pattern formerly used in Spain during the 16th and 17th centuries. • Jul 23, 2016

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Navarra Pattern

Navarra Pattern produced for the Pamplona General Hospital Monopoly. • Dec 10, 2017

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Navarra Pattern, 1682

Navarra pattern produced for the Pamplona General Hospital Monopoly in 1682. • Dec 11, 2017

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Phelippe Ayet, 1574

49 assorted cards were found hidden in the lintel of a doorway, in an old building in Toledo, during demolition, and are now preserved in the the Museo de Santa Cruz de Toledo. • Jan 01, 1970

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Phelippe Ayet, c.1574

Archaic, late medieval Spanish-suited playing cards printed by Phelippe Ayet, c.1574 • Jan 01, 1970

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Re-creation of Pierre Marechal playing-cards

English printers used Rouen court cards as inspiration for their own cruder, more stylized decks. The style of the costumes on English playing cards is late medieval, being descended from the Rouen models. • Jan 01, 1970

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Simon Wintle’s Spanish Suited Playing Cards

Decks are made up on two-ply pasteboard which reproduces the tactile quality of antique cards. Suits are Coins, Cups, Swords and Batons. • Jan 01, 1970

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Spanish National Pattern

Probably originating in Spain in the seventeenth century or even earlier, this pattern became strongly established by the Catalan cardmakers Rotxotxo of Barcelona. • Jan 01, 1970

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Toledo, 1584

Archaic Spanish-suited deck with 48 cards made in Toledo in 1584. • Mar 23, 2021

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XV Century Italian Playing Cards

Cards from a pack of an early form of north Italian playing cards, with the swords back-to-back and curved outwards. Believed to be Venetian, dated 1462. • Jan 01, 1970