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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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hand-painted

7 Articles

Handmade Black Peter

Handmade Black Peter cards.

Handmade Black Peter

Hand Drawn Joker Pack

Pack of 52 hand-drawn Jokers.

Hand Drawn Joker Pack

Prisoners of War

Hand-made playing cards by French prisoners of war in Porchester Castle, Hampshire, c.1796.

Prisoners of War

Chief Cities Quartettes

Hand-made ‘Chief Cities Quartettes’ card game, c.1910.

Chief Cities Quartettes

Gilbert & Sullivan Cards

“Gilbert & Sullivan” hand-made Savoy Operas pack designed and created by Rex Pitts.

Gilbert & Sullivan Cards