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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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Heraldry

5 Articles
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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. • Apr 04, 2016

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Heraldic playing cards

Reproduction of Richard Blome’s Heraldic playing cards, 1684, presented to lady guests at WCMPC Summer Meeting in 1888. • Aug 22, 2020

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L’Utile col Diletto

Geographical and Heraldic Tarocchi cards from Bologna, 1725 • Jul 27, 2014

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Nederlands Stedenkwartet

Nederlands Stedenkwartet with heraldic needlepoint patterns by Permin, c.1970. • May 13, 2021

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Wappen-Quartett

A coat-of-arms quartet game published by B. Dondorf, c.1900 • May 05, 2014