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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12 Articles
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18: Belgian Cards: An Introduction

The card-makers of Turnhout were prolific in their output and inveterate copiers. • Oct 07, 2012

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21: Belgian Makers: Brepols and Biermans

Brepols started making playing cards in 1826, although he had been in the printing trade since 1800. In 1833 the firm was called Brepols & Dierckx (the former's son-in-law). Biermans (1875-1970) was a relatively late arrival on the Turnhout playing card scene. • Nov 08, 2012

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Abbey Playing Cards

Abbey Playing Cards made in Belgium by La Turnhoutoise, c.1950s. • Aug 17, 2015

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Boerenbond Veevoeders

Promotional deck designed by Ray Goossens for the Boerenbond farmers’ union, c.1968 • Aug 22, 2017

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Brazil Pictorial Aces

Genoese pattern with Pictorial Aces for Brazil by Brepols, Turnhout, c.1920. • Dec 05, 2020

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Brepols Genoese pattern

“Cartes Françaises” and Genoese pattern by Brepols. • Aug 18, 2015

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Carta Mundi

Carta Mundi was founded in Turnhout on 27 June 1970 by pooling the production and sales facilities of the three surviving companies: Brepols, Van Genechten and Leonard Biermans. • Jun 27, 2015

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Dutch Pattern for Van Perlstein

Brepols Dutch Pattern for Van Perlstein distillery, c.1960 • Aug 15, 2015

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Luxus Skatkarte Nr.1134

Luxus Skatkarte Nr.1134 printed by Brepols for Germany, c.1940s. • Feb 26, 2021

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Renée Sturbelle

Artistic playing cards with abstract designs by Renée Sturbelle, first published by Brepols S.A., Turnhout, 1947, possibly reprinted in c.1960. The designs are hand-drawn ink drawings coloured red, blue and black. 52 cards + Joker. • Sep 18, 2012

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Van Genechten

A. Van Genechten ran a flourishing business, supplying various kinds of cards both inside the country and abroad including England, Spain, France, Denmark, South-East Asia, China and Japan • Mar 01, 2012

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WW1 Commemorative

In 1919 Brepols commemorated the victories of World War I with two new packs featuring portraits of Allied leaders on the court cards and famous battle scenes on the Aces. • Mar 26, 2013