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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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army

8 Articles

Anma US Armed Forces

Anma US Armed Forces, 1942.

Anma US Armed Forces

Tarot des Pompiers de Paris

Tarot des Pompiers de Paris, a French Fire Brigade tribute tarot deck

Tarot des Pompiers de Paris

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.

Army Health Promotion

Salute!

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

Salute!

Ordnance Recognition

Ordnance Recognition Playing Cards cards designed to help people at risk from unexploded bombs

Ordnance Recognition

ARRCO

ARRCO Playing Card Co., Chicago, c.1935 - c.1970s.

ARRCO

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.

Bavarian Military Cards

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.

Army No.303