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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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Ethnicity

47 Articles
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Ainu culture

A terrific deck of cards made by Nintendo c.1979 with original designs on every card showing the Ainu, the indigenous people of Japan. • Sep 04, 2015

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Air India

‘Air India’ playing cards, made in India • Sep 12, 2014

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Apache cards by Tonto Naipero

Apache rawhide playing cards by ‘Tonto Naipero’, c.1871. • Jul 10, 2015

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Baraja Aparcero

Designed to illustrate the history of four indigenous tribes who represent the roots of the Argentinean race. • Jan 01, 1970

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Baraja Charra Ernesto Icaza

“Baraja Charra” with paintings by Ernesto Icaza, 2002 • Mar 03, 2015

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Baralla Galega

'Baralla Galega' designed by X. Cobas and published by Imprenta Comercial Imprent S.A., La Coruña (Spain) in 1983 • Sep 11, 2013

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Black & White Whisky by Nintendo

Whisky advertising playing cards manufactured by Nintendo Playing Cards Co Ltd for Dodwell & Co., 1960s • Aug 29, 2014

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Bretagne

Jeu de Cartes “Bretagne” conveying their cultural identity. • Sep 28, 2014

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Casais Portugueses

Matching game by Majora, Lisbon, c.1970, featuring figures in national dress from Portuguese provinces and colonies • Dec 12, 2019

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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 • Sep 21, 2015

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Circular Coon Cards

Circular playing cards in a round tin titled: Sutherland's Circular Coon Cards published by Hartley Bros Pty Ltd, Australia, late 19th century. • Dec 28, 2010

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Cossack

“Cossack” playing cards, with artwork by O. Panchenko dedicated to the revival of the traditions of the Cossacks. Printed by the Colour Printing Plant, St Petersburg, 1994 • Sep 12, 2014

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Eastern

“Eastern” playing cards dedicated to ethnic Buryat culture, 2015 • Jan 18, 2017

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El Rodeo Talabartería

Promotional playing cards produced for ‘El Rodeo Talabartería’ specialising in leather goods and clothing, Buenos Aires, c.2006. • Jun 22, 2016

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Estonian Historic Playing Cards

The court cards and indices on Estonian playing cards are Södur, Emand, Kuninga. • Aug 27, 2006

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Ethiopian

Ethiopian playing cards designed for the Ethiopian Tourist Organization by Afewerk Teklé. • Dec 11, 2020

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Ethiopian Air Lines

Ethiopian Air Lines playing cards designed by Melles Habtezghi with courts wearing regional costumes, c.1969. • Dec 11, 2019

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Fair Play cross cultural playing cards

“Fair Play” cross cultural playing cards illustrated by Canadian artist Stephen B. MacInnes • Apr 19, 2017

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Falta Envido

Naipes Argentinos para Truco "Falta Envido" created by Alberto Soifer with Gaucho courts and variant suit symbols, 1982. • Nov 16, 2013

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Folklore No.169

Austrian Folklore deck first published by Piatnik in 1934. • Sep 11, 2018

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Four Races

“Four Races” playing cards designed by Latvian artist Vilnis Rasa in 1989 • Jul 04, 2016

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Game of Nations

The “Game of Nations” depicting caricatures of traditional costumes manufactured by McLoughlin Brothers, USA 1890s • May 17, 2016

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Garuda Indonesia

Souvenir playing cards from Garuda Indonesia Airlines, the national airline of Indonesia. • Jul 08, 2018

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Gaucho Playing Cards

Florencio de los Ángeles Molina Campos (1891-1959) produced the artwork for his series of Gaucho playing cards from 1944 to 1958. • Jul 24, 2001

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Happy Families of the World

Happy Families of the World published by Pepys Games, 1963. • Sep 11, 2018

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Iceland Mythology

Iceland Mythological Playing Cards designed by Sigurlinna Pétursson, 1958 • Apr 30, 2015

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Irish Historic

Irish Historic Playing Cards celebrating history and art, 1920 • Sep 14, 2014

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Japanesque

Goodall’s “Japanesque” brand was used for stationery products since around 1880 but these playing cards were added to the range in around 1900. • Mar 30, 2013

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Kenya Tribes Playing Cards

“Kenya Tribus” playing cards published by Sapra, Mount Kenya Sundries Ltd, Nairobi, 1991 • Oct 07, 2014

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Korchma Taras Bulba

The first of two decks designed by Ukrainian illustrator Vladislav Erko for “Korchma Taras Bulba” restaurant which serves traditional Ukrainian cuisine • Sep 07, 2014

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Les Artisans Tunisiens

“Les Artisans Tunisiens” Jeu de Sept Familles published by Éditions de la Mediterranée, Alpha S.A., Tunis • Aug 18, 2016

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Many Folk Misfitz

Many Folk Misfitz published by C.W. Faulkner & Co., c.1906. • Jan 15, 2020

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Maori

Maori themed playing cards from New Zealand depicting Maori Kings, Queens and Chiefs • Sep 21, 2014

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Mongol Playing Cards

Mongol Playing Cards with courts in traditional costume • Sep 29, 2014

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Mongolian Playing Cards

Mongolian Playing Cards • Apr 26, 2012

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Naipe Criollo Caraí Pujol

‘Naipe Criollo Caraí Pujol’ with Gaucho designs by Julio F. Parada Seifert capturing the spirit of Argentine country life, 2005. • Jun 26, 2016

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Naipes Argentinos Patagonia

“Naipes Argentinos Patagonia” with court cards depicting gauchos and native Indians, c.2000. • Aug 12, 2015

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National Misfitz

National Misfitz published by C.W. Faulkner & Co c.1900. • Feb 22, 2020

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Nationalities

“Nationalities”, the people of many nations, published by the Fireside Game Co., Cincinnati, Ohio, c.1897. • May 24, 2016

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Ojibwa Native Indian Cards

Ojibwa Native Indian playing cards hand manufactured on birch bark in imitation of standard French / English cards, c.1875. • Jul 08, 2015

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Papua New Guinea

Souvenir playing cards from the culturally diverse southwestern Pacific island of Papua New Guinea. • Sep 29, 2017

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pekka-peli

The Pekka-game consists of family members of four, illustrating the stereotypes of Caucasian Finns with various occupations, each with their wife, daughter and son. • Oct 10, 2010

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Pelaco

‘Pelaco’ playing cards with Aboriginal characters by Sands & McDougall, Australia, c.1930 • Feb 15, 2015

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Reshuffle

“Reshuffle” by Reetta Hiltunen, Finland, is a playing card installation stemming from the traditional Finnish children's card game Pekka-game or Funny Families. • Feb 23, 2016

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Spin & Old Maid

Lovely Victorian family card game with illustrations by the famous humorous artist, cartoonist and illustrator Richard Doyle (1824-1883) • Nov 11, 2015

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Strange People

“Strange People” card game produced by the Fireside Game Co., Cincinnati, 1895. • May 26, 2016

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Trinidad Carnival Playing Cards

“Allfours Carnival Playing Cards” designed by Gabby Woodham, Trinidad, 1995 • Aug 29, 2017