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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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Educational Playing Cards & Games

92 Articles

Myriorama

Myriorama of Italian scenery, 1824.

Myriorama

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

Andere Zeiten - Andere Kleider

‘History of fashion’ cultural quartet game designed by Erika Werner-Nestler, 1954.

Andere Zeiten - Andere Kleider

XIXth Century

The XIXth Century published by John Jaques & Son, c.1875.

XIXth Century

Geschichte des Buchgewerbes

Geschichte des Buchgewerbes illustrated by Ludwig Winkler, published by Verlag für Lehrmittel Pößneck.

Geschichte des Buchgewerbes

So Fängt Es An

“So Fängt Es An” beautifully illustrated by M. Neugebauer, published by Helingsche Verlagsanstalt, c.1950.

So Fängt Es An

French for Fun

French for Fun instructive card game published by John Jaques & Son Ltd., c.1930s

French for Fun

Eurotrotter

Eurotrotter by La Ducale, c.1980s.

Eurotrotter

Counties of Britain

Counties of Britain by John Jaques & Son Ltd. c.1930.

Counties of Britain

Countries of Empire

“Countries of Empire” published by John Jaques & Son Ltd, c.1930s.

Countries of Empire

Anma US Armed Forces

Anma US Armed Forces, 1942.

Anma US Armed Forces

Bedeutende Erfindungen im Alltag

‘Significant Inventions in Everyday Life’ quartet game published by Verlag für Lehrmittel, Pössneck, 1979.

Bedeutende Erfindungen im Alltag

Musikinstrumente

Musikinstrumente quartet game published by Verlag für Lehrmittel, Pössneck, 1984.

Musikinstrumente

Botany Quartetts

Botany card game published by Houlston and Wright & Henry Greenwood, c.1860.

Botany Quartetts

Neerlands Glorie

Neerlands Glorie Kwartetspel published by Hausemann & Hötte N.V, Amsterdam, 1945.

Neerlands Glorie

Rainbow

Rainbow card game and colour mixing guide printed by Goodall & Sons for Robert Johnson, c.1920.

Rainbow

Happy Guides

Happy Guides by James Brown & Son (Glasgow) Ltd. around 1910/1915.

Happy Guides

Wie Wird das Wetter

Wie Wird das Wetter, a Black Peter game about the weather created by Gunter Eckhardt, published by Rudolf Forkel,1952.

Wie Wird das Wetter

Educación Vial

Educación Vial (Road Safety) card game published by H. Fournier, 1995.

Educación Vial

Fancy Dress Ball

Spear’s “Fancy Dress Ball” card game with children dressed in period costumes, 1930s.

Fancy Dress Ball

Welsh Language Playing Cards

Welsh Language Playing Cards designed by Richard Ruston-Burgess, made in Wales, 2020.

Welsh Language Playing Cards

Historische Verkehrswege

“Historische Verkehrswege” quartet game published by Verlag für Lehrmittel Pössneck, 1988.

Historische Verkehrswege

Deutsche Geschichte

German History Quartet published by Otto Maier Verlag Ravensburg, c.1930-35.

Deutsche Geschichte

Musical Snap

Musical Snap by C.W. Faulkner & Co., c.1900.

Musical Snap

Atouts de la Vie

“Atouts de la Vie” wartime card game created by Madame Lucien Willemetz, c.1940.

Atouts de la Vie

Pantheon or Heathen Mythology

Pantheon or Heathen Mythology cards for instruction of youth, c.1770.

Pantheon or Heathen Mythology

Roman Empire

Roman Empire playing cards designed by G. Wyatt for Green Board Game Co Ltd., 2011.

Roman Empire

National Geographic: Weird But True

National Geographic: “Weird But True” kids fun fact playing cards, 2014.

National Geographic: Weird But True

Skits

Skits, an instructive card game which sharpens the wits, c.1900.

Skits

Desperanto

Desperanto language game by Qui Vive Ltd, c.1990.

Desperanto

Anno Mundi

Anno Mundi: an early Jaques game described as ‘scripture recreation for the young’ with events in the Bible, c.1875.

Anno Mundi

Weights and Measures

“Weights and Measures” card game by John Jaques & Son, Ltd., c.1910, a reminder of some of our more archaic units of measurement.

Weights and Measures

Hide & Seek with the Kings & Queens of England

Hide & Seek with the Kings & Queens of England by John Jaques & Son, c.1875.

Hide & Seek with the Kings & Queens of England

Geographical Playing Cards, c.1682

Geographical playing cards sold by Henry Brome, second edition, c.1682.

Geographical Playing Cards, c.1682

Counties of England 4th Series

Jaques' Counties of England card game, 4th Series (Southern Counties), c.1910.

Counties of England 4th Series

Jeu de la Géographie

“Jeu de Géographie” educational playing cards etched by Stefano Della Bella (1610-1664) and published by Henry le Gras, c.1644.

Jeu de la Géographie

Scouting

Scouting, a card game about boy scouts, appeared in 1955.

Scouting

Fair Play cross cultural playing cards

“Fair Play” cross cultural playing cards illustrated by Canadian artist Stephen B. MacInnes.

Fair Play cross cultural playing cards

Children’s Vocabulary Cards

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

Children’s Vocabulary Cards

Round Europe

Round Europe card game by Pepys, 1958.

Round Europe

Nap

Nap card games published by Multum in Parvo Ltd, London, c.1900

Nap

Fish Playing Cards

Fish Playing Cards by Bamboo (Parksons Press).

Fish Playing Cards

Squadron Scramble

“Squadron Scramble” card games for identifying military planes, Whitman Publishing Co., Racine, Wisconsin, 1942.

Squadron Scramble

Temple Press War Planes

“War Planes” playing cards for aircraft recognition published by Temple Press Limited, c.1940.

Temple Press War Planes

Strange People

“Strange People” card game produced by the Fireside Game Co., Cincinnati, 1895.

Strange People

Nationalities

“Nationalities”, the people of many nations, published by the Fireside Game Co., Cincinnati, Ohio, c.1897.

Nationalities

Caledonian Airways “European Phrases”

“European Phrase” playing cards produced for Caledonian Airways, 1994.

Caledonian Airways “European Phrases”

Arms of English Peers

The Arms of English Peers playing cards were first published in 1686. Heraldry, or a knowledge of the arms and blazons of royalty was an important part of a respectable education.

Arms of English Peers