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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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Chess

4 Articles

Jaques Advertising Leaflet

Jaques Advertising Leaflet showing Lawn tennis, Table Billiards, Staunton Chess, Croquet, etc.

Jaques Advertising Leaflet

Chinese Playing Cards

The Chinese took their cards with them wherever they travelled and traded in the East, and we find Chinese cards in use not only in the mainland but also in Hong Kong, Malaysia, Indonesia, Taiwan, Singapore, North Borneo and Vietnam.

Chinese Playing Cards

Icelandic Chess playing cards

Innovative "Icelandic Chess" pack, designed by Tryggvi Magnússon and manufactured by Alf Cooke Ltd (Universal Playing Card Co., Leeds) in 1942.

Icelandic Chess playing cards