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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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breweries

24 Articles

My Goodness my Guinness

Gilroy Special Edition Playing Cards to commemorate the centenary of the birth of John Gilroy, 1989.

My Goodness my Guinness

Hamm’s Beer

Hamm’s Beer promotion deck with bear cartoons by Frank M. Antoncich 1968.

Hamm’s Beer

Piwiarnia Pub in Warsaw

Advertising Deck for the Piwiarnia Pub in Warsaw.

Piwiarnia Pub in Warsaw

Guinness Posters

Classic Guinness Posters, 1999.

Guinness Posters

Castle Lager

Castle Lager playing cards, c.2012.

Castle Lager

Pilsner Urquell

Pilsner Urquell publicity deck from Czech Republic featuring beer drinkers.

Pilsner Urquell

Lovely Day for a Guinness

Lovely Day for a Guinness deck published by Shamrock Gift Co Dublin, c.1980.

Lovely Day for a Guinness

Belle Vue Gueuze

Promotional playing cards designed by Wim Simons, Belgium, 1960s.

Belle Vue Gueuze

Cartes de Luxe (1877) facsimile

‘Cartes de Luxe’ first published by Biermans in 1877 was reproduced in facsimile by Amstel Beer in c.1980.

Cartes de Luxe (1877) facsimile

Strongbow ‘House of Horror’

‘House of Horror’ Halloween deck published by Strongbow cider, 2015.

Strongbow ‘House of Horror’

Lucky Buddha Beer

Deck made in China in c.2010 advertising the Chinese brew “Lucky Beer, the enlightened beer”

Lucky Buddha Beer

Theakston Brewery

Theakston Brewery advertising playing cards depicting old brewing traditions, tools and skills, designed in the style of early 18th century cards.

Theakston Brewery

Brewery Advertising

Australian Brewery Advertising

Brewery Advertising

Welsh Brewery Playing Cards

Welsh Brewery Playing Cards

Welsh Brewery Playing Cards

Watney’s Happy Families

A vintage Watney's Coombe Reid & Co Ltd promotional card game distributed by the brewery to their customers in c.1930

Watney’s Happy Families

Clausen Brewing

It was a common practice for card makers to produce decks under fictitious names particularly when producing advertising decks, to avoid promoting their own name at the expense of the client.

Clausen Brewing

Anheuser-Busch Army & Navy

This deck is commonly known as the “Anheuser-Busch Spanish-American War deck”, issued at the end of the war.

Anheuser-Busch Army & Navy

Anheuser-Busch

The Kings show American admirals and the Jacks have different officers at each end. The Queens are “Our Colonies”.

Anheuser-Busch

Cerveza ‘El Gallo’

Advertising pack for Cerveza ‘El Gallo’ made in Belgium, c.1880.

Cerveza ‘El Gallo’

Schincariol Beer, Nossagraf, Brazil

Schincariol Cerveja Pilsen brewery playing cards manufactured by Gráfica Nossa Senhora Aparecida Ltda (Nossagraf), Brazil

Schincariol Beer, Nossagraf, Brazil

Pilsen Trucofest, c.2008

Pilsen Trucofest playing cards, Uruguay, c.2008

Pilsen Trucofest, c.2008

Juan Roura No.32 Catalan pattern

Juan Roura No.32, with advertisement for Cervezas Damm, c.1932.

Juan Roura No.32 Catalan pattern