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Playing Card Innovation

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33: Functional Changes to Playing Cards

33: Functional Changes to Playing Cards

The emphasis throughout my collecting has been on the design of the courts cards, and it should be pointed out that there have been some functional changes to cards, which have affected the traditional designs, especially in the 19th century.

A. Dougherty’s Triplicate Recreation 2014

A. Dougherty’s Triplicate Recreation

A recreated of the original 1876, No. 18, Triplicate deck by A. Dougherty by Michael Scott in 2014.

Airummy 2000


Souvenir pack made for the Malta Tourism Authority, Malta, c.2000.

Andrew Dougherty 1848-1930 1848

Andrew Dougherty 1848-1930

Andrew Dougherty was born in Donegal in Northern Ireland in 1827. He started his playing card business in New York in 1848.

Cartes à Jouer Fluorescentes 1960

Cartes à Jouer Fluorescentes

Standard French cards but printed with fluorescent inks on a black background.

Cartes Illustrées 2016

Cartes Illustrées

Standard French designs adapted for children. Made by France Cartes for La Grande Récré, c.2016.

Corner Indices 1864

Corner Indices

Corner Indices were a major innovation in playing card production.

De La Rue 1832

De La Rue

De La Rue introduced letter-press printing into playing card production and his patent was granted in 1831. He produced his first playing cards in 1832.

Delta Playing Cards 1988

Delta Playing Cards

Delta playing cards are a modern art concept deck invented by Professor M. R. Ali, an artist operating under the company name of “Artology International”.

Egbert Moehsnang 1978

Egbert Moehsnang

The suit signs and indices are clear and easily recognisable, and each suit has a different predominant colour. The juxtaposition of traditional craft techniques with abstract modern design could be seen as postmodern.

EPCS May 1992 Newsletter

EPCS May 1992 Newsletter Members Only

Most Honourable Order of the Bath • Kimberley of Birmingham • UCBS Happy Families • Bass Group • Robin Hood • Nestle • Berkshire Printing Company • Deakins Political

Ergomia 2000


Complete re-design of traditional pack into what the publishers considered to be ergonomically efficient.

Foster’s Self-Playing Whist Cards 1890

Foster’s Self-Playing Whist Cards

In 1890 R. F. Foster published the first edition of “Foster’s Whist Manual” which was to become the bible for serious whist players for the next two decades.

Fried Chicken Playing Cards 2023

Fried Chicken Playing Cards

This innovative chicken-themed concept combines playing cards with the aroma of fried chicken.

Great inventions playing cards 2011

Great inventions playing cards

Great inventions playing cards designed by Gary Wyatt, United Kingdom, 2011.

Hesslers Enhanced 2015

Hesslers Enhanced

Matt Hessler’s “Enhanced” four-colour playing cards, 2015.

Il Quinto Seme 1977

Il Quinto Seme

An Italian pack with a fifth suit of “amici” (“friends”).

Ivorette 1883


Dougherty was at the forefront of innovation, adding Best Bowers and then Jokers, rounded corners and various types of indices, or indicators, to his cards.

Jass Allemand 1982

Jass Allemand

Egbert Moehsnang produced this contemporary Swiss-suited, double-ended pack, based on original XV century sources, but they were shunned by card players.

John Newman’s Colour Cards 1995

John Newman’s Colour Cards

John Newman’s Colour Cards