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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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childhood

56 Articles

Chad Valley Co. Ltd

Chad Valley Co. Ltd (incorporating Johnson Brothers (Harborne) Ltd, the long-established UK brand bought by Woolworths in 1988 and now sold at Argos.

Chad Valley Co. Ltd

Lion Coffee

Lion Coffee Mother Goose card game, late 19th C.

Lion Coffee

Year of the Child

Year of the Child commemorative deck designed by Jhan Paulussen, 1979.

Year of the Child

Fairy Snap

Fairy Snap by Norvic Mill, c.1920s.

Fairy Snap

Paddington

Paddington card game published in UK by Whitman.

Paddington

Animal Misfitz

Animal Misfitz designed by George Lambert for Faulkner Games, c.1900.

Animal Misfitz

Carousel Playing Cards

Carousel Playing Cards commissioned by Tesco stores, 2019.

Carousel Playing Cards

Golly Misfitz

Golly Misfitz from c1905.

Golly Misfitz

Boekenkwartet

Boekenkwartet featuring illustrations from children's books, 1970s.

Boekenkwartet

Alice in Wonderland

Alice in Wonderland playing cards designed by Sasha Dounaevski, 2018.

Alice in Wonderland

Children’s Vocabulary Cards

Thai Children’s Colour Vocabulary Cards promoting Ovaltine chocolate malt drink, 2016

Children’s Vocabulary Cards

Fairy Tales

the Game of Fairy Tales published by Multum in Parvo Co,, from 1896

Fairy Tales

Vacuation

“Vacuation” published by Pepys games, based on the evacuation of children to Reception Areas in the countryside during WW2, c.1939-40.

Vacuation

Mother Goose’s Party, or Merry Game of Old Maid

Mother Goose’s Party, or Merry Game of Old Maid, McLoughlin Bros., Inc., USA, 1887.

Mother Goose’s Party, or Merry Game of Old Maid

Bobs y’r Uncle

“Bobs y'r Uncle” nursery rhyme card game designed by Frank H. Simpson for John Waddington Ltd. in 1935.

Bobs y’r Uncle

Bread & Honey

A charming Victorian family card game involving Clowns, Queens, Kings, Maids and thirty-seven Blackbirds manufactured by Thos De la Rue, c.1900.

Bread & Honey

Jacqueline Wilson Playing Cards

“Jacqueline Wilson” playing cards were illustrated by Nick Sharratt and published by Winning Moves UK Ltd in 2007.

Jacqueline Wilson Playing Cards

Hello Kitty

Waddington’s “Hello Kitty” themed deck produced in 2009.

Hello Kitty

Hornby Playing Cards

Hornby Playing cards are a retro deck designed and produced by Wild and Wolf copyright 2011.

Hornby Playing Cards

Happy Families, c.1950

Chad Valley “Happy Families” card game, c.1950.

Happy Families, c.1950

Happy Families, c.1930

“Happy Families” game published by Chad Valley c.1930 drawn in the slightly grotesque style of the Victorian era.

Happy Families, c.1930

Linda Edgerton Happy Families

Linda Edgerton ‘Happy Families’ published by Chad Valley Games, Harborne, England, c.1925.

Linda Edgerton Happy Families

Nursery Rhyme Snap

Chad Valley ‘Nursery Rhyme Snap’ 1950, depicting ten popular nursery rhymes.

Nursery Rhyme Snap

Snap 1925

Chad Valley ‘Snap’ card game designed by Linda Edgerton, 1925.

Snap 1925

Golden Egg

Chad Valley “Golden Egg” card game.

Golden Egg

Prudence Snap c.1950

Chad Valley “Prudence Kitten Snap” card game designed by Annette Mills, 1950.

Prudence Snap c.1950

Oliver Twist Snap

Oliver Twist Series Snap card game manufactured by A. Collier, London, c.1890.

Oliver Twist Snap

Hello Kitty

“Hello Kitty” playing cards published by Sanrio, manufactured in China, 2013

Hello Kitty

Jeu des 7 Familles by J.J.F

“Jeu des 7 Familles” by Jeux et Jouets Français of Paris, 1904.

Jeu des 7 Familles by J.J.F

Alice in Wonderland

Alice in Wonderland card game based on original designs by Sir John Tenniel published by Thomas De la Rue & Co. Ltd, c.1900

Alice in Wonderland

District Messenger

District Messengers were uniformed young men wearing little pill-box hats and mounted on bicycles who fulfilled urgent tasks and were paid by the mile

District Messenger

Happy Families

Happy Families designed by A.E. Kennedy, 1930s.

Happy Families

Hurry-Up Misfitz

Faulkner's “Hurry-Up Misfitz”, with some fine illustrations of vintage methods of transportation, was designed by George Lambert, c.1907

Hurry-Up Misfitz

Bargains

“Bargains” was designed by George Lambert for C. W. Faulkner & Co in c.1900.

Bargains

Our Pets Snap

“Our Pets Snap” designed by A. E. Kennedy for Faulkner & Co., c.1930s.

Our Pets Snap

Farmyard Snap

“Farmyard Snap” designed by A. E. Kennedy and published by C. W. Faulkner & Co., c.1930

Farmyard Snap

Three Bears Snap

“Three Bears Snap” was designed by A. E. Kennedy and published by C. W. Faulkner & Co., c.1930s.

Three Bears Snap

Shakespearian Misfitz

C. W. Faulkner’s “Shakespearian Misfitz” designed by George Lambert and published around 1907/08 showing famous characters from Shakespeare.

Shakespearian Misfitz

Fairyland Snap

“Fairyland Snap” designed by A. E. Kennedy and published by C. W. Faulkner & Co., c.1930.

Fairyland Snap

Busy Families

C. W. Faulkner’s “Busy Families”, c.1903.

Busy Families

Fairy Tales

German Fairy Tales Card Game.

Fairy Tales

The New Game of Animals

Victorian card game with imaginatively designed letters which spell the name of an animal, with one card representing the animal spelt.

The New Game of Animals

Pierre l’Ebouriffé

Heinrich Hoffmann (1809-1894) wrote the Struwwelpeter stories in 1847 for his son Carl. The stories quickly became famous and were translated into many languages...

Pierre l’Ebouriffé

Mustering of the Mustard Club

The “Mustering of the Mustard Club” was one of many promotional items produced by Colman's for the Mustard Club which was launched in 1926.

Mustering of the Mustard Club

Spear’s Old Maid

Spear’s “The Jolly Game of Old Maid” was introduced around 1900. The cards contain some interesting but harmless social stereotypes from the end of the Victorian era.

Spear’s Old Maid

Wereldvlucht Kwartet

Published in 1933, this game celebrated the burgeoning passenger services by air around the world. Spears Weltflug Quartette was produced in German, Dutch and English versions.

Wereldvlucht Kwartet

Waddy Productions

Waddy Productions Ltd was a member of the giant Amalgamated Press group and only published card games for a short period in the 1930s.

Waddy Productions

Mauclair Dacier Familles

This “Jeu de Sept Familles” was produced by Mauclair Dacier in the late 19th century.

Mauclair Dacier Familles

Little Folk Misfitz

C. W. Faulkner & Co. Ltd were prolific card game manufacturers over a period of around 50 years, c.1870-1920.

Little Folk Misfitz

Snap Cards

Clifford Series Snap Cards, c.1950.

Snap Cards

Clifford ‘Donkey’ card game

Clifford ‘Donkey’ card game, c.1948.

Clifford ‘Donkey’ card game