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The History of Playing Cards

144 Articles

Playing Cards have been around in Europe since the 1370s. Some early packs were hand painted works of art which were expensive and affordable only by the wealthy. But as demand increased cheaper methods of production were discovered so that playing cards became available for everyone...

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Hidden meanings in painting by Jheronimus Bosch

Medieval View of Gambling in the ‘Garden of Earthly Delights’ by Jheronimus Bosch

Hidden meanings in painting by Jheronimus Bosch

History of Court Cards

The court cards in English packs of playing cards derive from models produced by Pierre Marechal in Rouen around 1565. A pack of such cards is preserved in the museum at Rouen.

History of Court Cards

History of English Playing Cards & Games

The History of English Playing Cards dates probably from the mid 15th century

History of English Playing Cards & Games

History of Online Casinos

Online casinos appeared shortly after the internet became a more mainstream tool for the public to use

History of Online Casinos

History of Playing Cards explained in 5 Minutes

Video by Art of Impossible. In this video you will get a short overview of the most important historical facts about playing cards and their history.

History of Playing Cards explained in 5 Minutes

Hofamterspiel, c.1460

Hofamterspiel, c.1460

Hofamterspiel, c.1460 1460

I.M.F. Engraved Cards

Playing cards had been made as precious objects for wealthy clients since the late 14th century. They were made to look at, admire and to keep in curiosity cabinets, or perhaps to entertain ladies or educate children rather than to play with.

I.M.F. Engraved Cards 1617

Illustrated Playing Cards, c.1740

Illustrated playing cards featuring comical engravings and rhymes about saints, c.1740.

Illustrated Playing Cards, c.1740 1740

Impuesto de Timbre para Naipes

EL CONGRESO DE COLOMBIA. LEY 69 DE 1946, por la cual se elevan las tarifas de algunos impuestos indirectos y se dictan otras disposiciones.

Impuesto de Timbre para Naipes 1946

Iohann Christoph Hes Tarot c.1750

Facsimile of Tarot de Marseille by Iohann Christoph Hes, Augsburg, c.1750.

Iohann Christoph Hes Tarot c.1750 1750

Italian Playing Cards

The first reliable evidence that playing cards were being used in Italy is from 1376, when a game called 'naibbe' is forbidden in a decree, with the implication that the game had only recently been introduced there.

Italian Playing Cards

Jeu de la Géographie

“Jeu de Géographie” educational playing cards etched by Stefano Della Bella (1610-1664) and published by Henry le Gras, c.1644.

Jeu de la Géographie 1644

Joan Barbot

Joan Barbot, San Sebastian c.1765-1810.

Joan Barbot

Johannes Müller c.1840

Facsimile edition of Swiss suited deck first published by Johannes Müller in c.1840.

Johannes Müller c.1840

John Llewellyn, playing card manufacturer, London, 1778-1785

John Llewellyn, playing card manufacturer, London, 1778-1785

John Llewellyn, playing card manufacturer, London, 1778-1785

Joseph Losch

French-suited pack with full-length courts by Joseph Losch, c.1800.

Joseph Losch

Kriegs-Spiel by Peter Schencken, Amsterdam

Peter Schencken of Amsterdam copied the "Jeu de la Guerre" or "Das Kriegs-Spiel" (with German captions) originated by Gilles de La Boissière and published by Mariette in 1668 in Paris.

Kriegs-Spiel by Peter Schencken, Amsterdam 1679

Le Jeu de la Guerre

Facsimile of “Le Jeu de la Guerre” designed by Gilles de la Boissière in 1698.

Le Jeu de la Guerre 1698

Lombardy (or Milanesi) pattern

The origins of the Lombardy pattern probably lie in the early 19th century when it was a full-length design. It has some affinities with the French Provence and Lyons patterns which are now obsolete.

Lombardy (or Milanesi) pattern

Lyons Pattern type iii

This pattern was used in various parts of eastern France but was ultimately replaced by the official ‘Paris’ pattern in c.1780.

Lyons Pattern type iii

Malta

The so-called ‘Dragon Cards’, with winged monsters on the four Aces, are an enigmatic aspect of early playing card history.

Malta

Mapuche Indian Playing Cards

Spanish-suited playing cards made on rawhide and said to have been used by Chilean Mapuche Indians, XVI-XVII century

Mapuche Indian Playing Cards

Mathematical Instruments

Mathematical Instruments playing cards forming an instrument maker's trade catalogue, Thomas Tuttell, c.1700.

Mathematical Instruments 1700

Minchiate Fiorentine, 17th C.

17th century Minchiate cards reprinted from the original woodblocks.

Minchiate Fiorentine, 17th C.

Moorish playing cards

These two uncoloured, uncut sheets of early Moorish playing cards were formerly preserved in the Instituto Municipal de Historia in Barcelona.

Moorish playing cards 1420

Naipes Artiguistas, 1816

Naipes Artiguistas published in Concepción del Uruguay, Entre Rios province (Argentina) in 1816, by Fray Solano García.

Naipes Artiguistas, 1816 1815