Archaic and Obsolete Patterns
Antique deck of old Bohemian playing cards of the German type manufactured by Georg Kapfler and dated 1611.
Animal suited playing cards engraved by the Master of the Playing Cards, Germany, c.1455
Inspired by an archaic Spanish pattern formerly used in Spain during the 16th and 17th centuries.
Uncoloured and uncut sheet of XV Century Catalan Playing Cards, featuring four female Sotas, four Aces and four cards from the suit of batons.
The so-called ‘Dragon Cards’, with winged monsters on the four Aces, are an enigmatic aspect of early playing card history.
Playing Cards by the Master of the Banderoles, one of the earliest professional printmakers, c.1470.
These two uncoloured, uncut sheets of early Moorish playing cards were formerly preserved in the Instituto Municipal de Historia in Barcelona.
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.
Cards produced in Rouen during the sixteenth century. It was cards like these which were imported to England and are the ancestors of the modern 'Anglo-American' pattern.
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.
Archaic, late medieval Spanish-suited playing cards printed by Phelippe Ayet, c.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.
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.
Probably originating in Spain in the seventeenth century or even earlier, this pattern became strongly established by the Catalan cardmakers Rotxotxo of Barcelona.
The Swiss national suit system of shields, acorns, hawkbells and flowers originated sometime during the fifteenth century.
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.
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.