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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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Folklore and Oral Traditions

48 Articles

Netherlands Kostuum Kwartet

Dutch costumes quartet game designed by Gerard Huijg, 1983.

Netherlands Kostuum Kwartet

Österreichisches Trachten-quartett

Österreichisches Trachten-quartett Nr.282 published by Ferd Piatnik & Söhne.

Österreichisches Trachten-quartett

Norwegian Troll Cards

Norwegian Troll Cards published by Aune Forlag of Trondheim, c.2000.

Norwegian Troll Cards

Caperucita Roja

Caperucita Roja card game published by H. Fournier, 1981.

Caperucita Roja

Pulgarcito

Pulgarcito (Tom Thumb) card game published by H Fournier, 1981.

Pulgarcito

La Belle au bois dormant

Sleeping Beauty card game published in France, c.1980s.

La Belle au bois dormant

Sprookjes Kwartet

Fairy Tales quartet published by Heinrich Schwarz + Co for Dutch market, c.1970.

Sprookjes Kwartet

Märchen-Quartett

Fairy Tales quartet game by F.X. Schmid, Munich, 1960.

Märchen-Quartett

Märchen-Quartett

Märchen-Quartett (Fairy Tales) illustrated by J. P. Werth and published by J. W. Spear & Söhne, c.1915.

Märchen-Quartett

Märchenquartett

Fairy Tales quartet designed by Annemarie Gramberg, published by Vereinigte Altenburger und Stralsunder Spielkarten-Fabriken AG, 1955.

Märchenquartett

Fairy Legend Misfitz

Fairy Legend Misfitz published by C W Faulkner & Co Ltd, c.1908.

Fairy Legend Misfitz

Casais Portugueses

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

Casais Portugueses

Naipes Criollos

“Naipes Criollos” Gaucho playing cards, 1995.

Naipes Criollos

Naipes Cardón

Naipes Cardón designed by Mario Luis Rivero depicting traditional Argentine culture and identity, 2002.

Naipes Cardón

Martín Fierro

Naipes “Martín Fierro” based on the epic poem by José Hernandez.

Martín Fierro

Fairy Tales

Fairy Tales published by C.W. Faulkner & Co., c.1903.

Fairy Tales

Gunfighters

Gunfighters playing cards from the Wild West Series by SPCC, 2018.

Gunfighters

Les Grandes Figures de L’Histoire Bretonne

Les Grandes Figures de L’Histoire Bretonne

Les Grandes Figures de L’Histoire Bretonne

Le Avventure di Pinocchio

Avventure di Pinocchio by Dal Negro, based on Carlo Collodi’s famous 1883 novel “The Adventures of Pinocchio”.

Le Avventure di Pinocchio

Kalevala

Kalevala playing cards by Sunish Chabba and Ishan Trivedi inspired by ancient Finnish mythology.

Kalevala

Folklore No.169

Austrian Folklore deck first published by Piatnik in 1934.

Folklore No.169

Bharata Playing Cards

Bharata Playing Cards - Series 2, based on Indian folk art, published by Sunish Chabba, 2018.

Bharata Playing Cards

Pinocchio

Pinocchio card game published by Pepys Games, 1940.

Pinocchio

Pinocchio

Pinocchio fairy tale playing cards illustrated by Iassen Ghiuselev for Lo Scarabeo, 2003.

Pinocchio

Calavera Playing Cards

Calavera playing cards designed by Jirs Huygen for Cartamundi, 2015

Calavera Playing Cards

Bharata Major Arcana Tarot

Bharata Major Arcana Tarot by Ishan Trivedi & Sunish Chabba, 2018. Inspired by Indian art forms.

Bharata Major Arcana Tarot

Davy Crockett

Davy Crockett, King of the Wild Frontier... card game published by Pepys Games, 1956.

Davy Crockett

Provinces de France

Jeu des Provinces de France published by Éditions Dusserre, 1979.

Provinces de France

Divine Art Playing Cards - Relaunch

Divine Art Playing Cards by Sunish Chabba & Guru Playing Card Company, 2016.

Divine Art Playing Cards - Relaunch

Baraja Gaucha

“Baraja Gaucha” fantasy deck designed by Mateo Tikas Plechas for Argentina, 1998.

Baraja Gaucha

Robin Hood

Robin Hood card game published by Pepys, 1956.

Robin Hood

Fairy Tales

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

Fairy Tales

Gaucho Naipes

‘Gaucho’ Spanish-suited deck, anonymous manufacturer, made in Argentina, 2001.

Gaucho Naipes

Naipe Criollo Caraí Pujol

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

Naipe Criollo Caraí Pujol

Folklore

“Folklore” by Altenburger Spielkarten Fabrik, c.1982

Folklore

Fairy Tales

German Fairy Tales Card Game.

Fairy Tales

Baralla Galega

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

Baralla Galega

Matyó-Bridge No.50

The court cards in this delightful Art Deco pack represent persons in various colourfully embroidered folkloric costumes. Designed by Hungarian artist Ilona Radnainé Szöredi.

Matyó-Bridge No.50

Wild West

Wild West card game published by Pepys, 1963.

Wild West

Latvia Art

Playing cards designed by artist Larisa Kovalass-Kovalevska on the theme of the Latvian folk epic “Lāčplēsis”.

Latvia Art

Recado de Bastos - Gaucho Scrapbook

Recado de Bastos (‘Gaucho Scrapbook’) Gaucho-themed deck from Argentina, 2006

Recado de Bastos - Gaucho Scrapbook

Pinocho

Pinocho children’s playing cards published by Editorial Gráfica Flores c.1975.

Pinocho

Rihards Zarinš

Playing cards designed by Rihards Zarinš, 1921. Latvian indices and with heraldic and hunting motifs reminiscent of the countries' ancient history and folklore.

Rihards Zarinš

Stefans Bercs

In 1923 a competition was announced for a new Latvian pack. The winner of this competition was Stefans Bercs.

Stefans Bercs