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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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15 Articles
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Cartes Parisiennes

The courts are full-length figures of English historical personages. • Feb 06, 2013

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Daveluy produced card games between c.1840 and 1890. Many of his playing cards have historical connotations and show figures with a landscape background. • Mar 20, 2014

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Descubridores y Colonizadores de America

“Baraja Histórica” (Descubridores y Colonizadores de America) manufactured by Heraclio Fournier S.A., 1952 designed by Ricardo Summers “Serny” • Nov 06, 2014

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Dresdner Doppelkopf

‘Dresdner Doppelkopf’ with scenes of Dresden, designed by Günter Schmitz, 1989. • Jun 01, 1999

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Famo, the historical card game, 1939. • Sep 17, 2014

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French Costumes

The French taste for elegant, well engraved costume playing cards started during the early 19th century. O. Gibert of Paris produced a series of such fashion packs, or packs depicting historical characters. • Feb 05, 2013

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Historical Characters

“Historical Characters” playing cards printed by Waddington’s for Thermawear Ltd, 1994 • Mar 07, 2015

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Islenzk Spil

This historical Icelandic deck was first published in c.1930 and shows the native Icelandic Vikings of some thousand years ago rendered in a romantic naturalistic style. • Jan 06, 2013

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J. Glanz Historical playing cards

Historical Theatrical playing cards manufactured by J. Glanz, c.1865 • Oct 26, 2014

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Jeu des Rois de France

This beautifully engraved and pleasing deck designed in 1856 has French Kings and consorts as the Kings and Queens, with noble attendants as the Jacks, all dressed in magnificent period costumes. • Feb 11, 2013

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Lakeland playing cards by Stuart Lawrence depicting famous characters & views of England’s Lake District, c.1988. • Oct 30, 2017

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Neue Deutsche Spielkarte

Neue Deutsche Spielkarte (Reformkarte) conceived by Dr. Timon Schroeter, 1883. • Apr 02, 2018

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Rowley & Co - “Monarchs of Europe”

In around 1775 Rowley & Co attempted to reform the traditional court cards to portraits of the kings and queens of England, France, Spain and Russia. • Sep 19, 2013

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Russian Slavic Costumes

Russian style “Slavic Costumes” playing cards first published in 1911 • Jun 24, 2014

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Spanish Historical Characters playing cards, c.1896

Cards from the Spanish Historical Characters playing cards set printed by Litografía Madriguera (Barcelona), c.1896, which were inserted into packets of chocolate. • Jan 01, 1970