The World of Playing Cards Logo

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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jass

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Modern Swiss-German Pattern

Modern Swiss-German Pattern by AGMüller, c.2000.

Modern Swiss-German Pattern

Schweizer Luxus-Jasskarte No.41

The lower and upper knaves are depicted in a vibrant and lively manner, while the enthroned kings are more ponderous. The traditional Swiss Shield court cards also have beer tankards with a barrel on the Deuce.

Schweizer Luxus-Jasskarte No.41

Swiss Playing Cards by David Hurter, c.1830

David Hurter had begun to build up a playing card business in Schaffhausen during the late 18th century.

Swiss Playing Cards by David Hurter, c.1830

Antique Swiss Playing Cards, c.1530

The Swiss national suit system of shields, acorns, hawkbells and flowers originated sometime during the fifteenth century.

Antique Swiss Playing Cards, c.1530