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The Art & Design of Playing Cards

Playing Card Design

The playing card calls for artistic treatment and although the constrained size imposes some limitations there is an almost bewildering wealth and variety of designs in playing cards and their tuck boxes. The serious player requires design to be unobtrusive so that aesthetic considerations remain in the background. However, with modern manufacturing technology more eye-catching designs are becoming popular as gifts, collectibles and for their attractive appearance.

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Carl Arnold Transformation

Carl Arnold Transformation

Transformation playing cards designed by Carl Johann Arnold (1829-1916), the court artist for King Friedrich Wilhem IV of Prussia.

Carnival Playing Cards, 1925 1925

Carnival Playing Cards, 1925

The Carnival Playing Card deck designed by Harry D. Wallace (1892-1977) and first published in 1925.

Cashmere 1950


Bernhard Altmann is from the “The House of Cashmere” and these playing cards honour their best known commodity: the fleece of the graceful horned Cashmere goat.



“Casino” pack made by J. Müller & Cie & Cie, Schaffhouse. The pack was probably designed by Josef Maria Melchior Annen (1868-1954) who also designed several other packs for Müller & Cie.

Ceska Graficka Unie AS 1961

Ceska Graficka Unie AS

Playing Cards printed by Ceska Graficka Unie AS, Prague, Czechoslovakia, 1890-1925.

Cheery Families, c.1893 1893

Cheery Families, c.1893

Cheery Families card game designed by Richard Doyle and printed by De La Rue & Co., Ltd, c.1893

Chinese Jokers

Chinese Jokers

Chinese playing card makers have probably produced the widest variety of jokers of any single part of the world.

Chinese Opera Masks Playing Cards   脸谱

Chinese Opera Masks Playing Cards 脸谱

Three different packs of cards featuring traditional Chinese face painting and Chinese opera masks.

Chinese Roles of Beijing Opera 2005

Chinese Roles of Beijing Opera

A very impressive deck of cards featuring 54 different images from “Chinese Roles of Beijing Opera” published by HCG Poker Productions, 2005

Classic 1959


“Classic” playing cards designed by Paul Mathison inspired by classical mythology, 1959.

Classique 1949


“Classique” by Draeger Frères, Paris, c.1949 with designs reminiscent of early French cards.

Claude Weisbuch 1997

Claude Weisbuch

Free reinterpretation of the traditional Paris pattern courts by the artist Claude Weisbuch.

Club Bridge 1990

Club Bridge

Modiano’s ‘Club Bridge’ is a new edition of a stylish deck originally published in c.1895.

Cocktail 1925


Aluminium playing cards manufactured by Häusermann United Chemical and Metal Engraving Co., Vienna, c.1925

Comtesse 1961


“Comtesse” by Bielefelder Spielkarten Fabrik GmbH, 1961.

Corsaires et Flibustiers 1958

Corsaires et Flibustiers

“Corsaires et Flibustiers” playing cards created by G. Delluc and published by Éditions Philibert, Paris, 1958.

Cosi Fan Tutte 1994

Cosi Fan Tutte

Cosi Fan Tutte was published in 1994 and is based on Mozart's opera. The pips (heart-shaped locket, magnet, marriage contract and poison bottle) are key objects in the development of the operatic plot.

Cosmopolitan № 2121 playing cards 1996

Cosmopolitan № 2121 playing cards

“Cosmopolitan” № 2121 playing cards designed by Russian artist Valeri Mishin, 1996

Creature Comfort 2017

Creature Comfort

Creature Comfort playing cards designed by Don Moyer, 2017.

Credito Commerciale 1978

Credito Commerciale

Playing cards designed by Enzo Laurà for Credito Commerciale, 1978.