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.

Browsing keyword:

Art Deco

14 Articles

Vac-tric Electric Vacuum Cleaners

Vac-tric Electric Vacuum Cleaner playing cards manufactured by De la Rue, 1930s.

Vac-tric Electric Vacuum Cleaners

Moderne Art Deco Playing Cards

This pack created by Randy Coffey is based on the 1920s and 1930s Art Deco style of fine decoration and fashion.

Moderne Art Deco Playing Cards

Orient-Express Playing Cards

Orient Express playing cards evoking a bygone era of chauffeurs, monocles and exoticism. Manufactured by Waddingtons, c.1990

Orient-Express Playing Cards

Schwarzer Peter

Art Deco style “Schwarzer Peter” card game published by Vereinigte Altenburger und Stralsunder Spielkarten-Fabriken A.G., Stuttgart.

Schwarzer Peter

Art Deco Gypsy Oracle

Art Deco fortune telling deck published by Piatnik, 1936.

Art Deco Gypsy Oracle

Past-L-Eze Playing Cards

On “Past-L-Eze” playing cards Kings, Queens and Jacks are no longer stodgy and conventional but pleasingly reflect suspicion, flirtation and worry.

Past-L-Eze Playing Cards

Ritter & Cie, 1933

A colourful re-working of the standard Anglo-American pattern in Art Deco style.

Ritter & Cie, 1933

Smart Set 400

The “Smart Set 400” brand with named backs was introduced in c.1906 by the Kalamazoo Playing Card Co. in Michigan. Kalamazoo subsequently merged with the Russell Playing Card Co. in around 1913 or 1914. Thereafter the “Smart Set 400” series continued to be published by the Russell Playing Card Co.

Smart Set 400

Waisenfond

Intended to attract donations on behalf of the Imperial Royal Austrian Military Widows’ and Orphans’ Fund, this elegant and refined deck was designed by Nellie Stern. The deck was printed by Ferdinand Piatnik & Söhne, Vienna in 1916.

Waisenfond

Saks-Werbespiel

Promotional playing cards printed by Dondorf for Saks & Company, New York, late 1920s.

Saks-Werbespiel

Tungsram Playing Cards

Tungsram Playing Cards, Art Deco playing cards from Hungary

Tungsram Playing Cards