The World of Playing Cards Logo 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.

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9 Articles
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Anma US Armed Forces

Anma US Armed Forces, 1942. • Feb 11, 2021

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Army Health Promotion

Health Promotion playing cards issued by the British Army with cartoons about army life and information on where to get health advice. • Aug 28, 2015

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Army No.303

The Joker is particularly persuasive, whilst the Ace of Spades has a battle scene involving artillery, with Navy ships in the distance and the statue of the goddess of Freedom in the middle. • Mar 04, 2013

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ARRCO Playing Card Co., Chicago, c.1935 - c.1970s. • Feb 01, 2015

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Bavarian Military Cards

The King of Acorns is supposed to represent Prince Otto; the King of Leaves is Maximilian II; the King of Bells is Ludwig II; the King of Hearts is Ludwig I wearing a general's uniform. The court cards are all male, but some of the numeral cards depict women. • Mar 24, 2013

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Ordnance Recognition

Ordnance Recognition Playing Cards cards designed to help people at risk from unexploded bombs • Mar 03, 2015

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Salute! The Four Services promotion game by John Jaques & Son Ltd, London, c.1940. • Jun 13, 2015

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Tarot des Pompiers de Paris

Tarot des Pompiers de Paris, a French Fire Brigade tribute tarot deck • Jan 31, 2016

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Tigers No.101

In 1881 Russell, Morgan & Company commenced playing card production by issuing six grades of cards with new, purely American names. • Feb 21, 2013