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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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music

36 Articles

Gilbert and Sullivan

Gilbert and Sullivan deck created by Don Jack using artwork from Players cigarette cards.

Gilbert and Sullivan

Bandsman Snap

Bandsman Snap by Chiefton Products Ltd of Bristol, c.1950s.

Bandsman Snap

Musikinstrumente

Musikinstrumente quartet game published by Verlag für Lehrmittel, Pössneck, 1984.

Musikinstrumente

Musical Snap

Musical Snap by C.W. Faulkner & Co., c.1900.

Musical Snap

Monty Gum ‘Stars Play’

‘Stars Play’ card set published by Monty Gum, Leiden, 1988.

Monty Gum ‘Stars Play’

Musikalisches Kartenspiel

Facsimile of Dondorf’s “Musikalisches Kartenspiel” (c.1862) published by Lo Scarabeo, 2004

Musikalisches Kartenspiel

Story Magazine

Dutch singers, TV and theatre artist playing cards for “Story” magazine, 1978.

Story Magazine

Peter and the Wolf

Peter and the Wolf card game published by Pepys Games, 1947.

Peter and the Wolf

Milonguita

Naipes de Poker “Milonguita” featuring early Tango music score covers, Gardés Editorial, 2003.

Milonguita

Dogs

‘Dogs’ playing cards showcases 52 canine portraits in four suits as authors, artists, musicians and film stars, illustrated by Chet Phillips, 2016

Dogs

Black Tango

‘Black Tango’ playing cards with photographs of dancing couples published by Gardés Editorial, 2003.

Black Tango

Sony Tape Rock ‘N’ Pop Playing Cards

Deck featuring “18 Rock ‘n’ Pop” Superstars portrayed on the court cards and jokers by eight of Britain’s leading illustrators.

Sony Tape Rock ‘N’ Pop Playing Cards

Löjliga Spel Kort

Facsimile edition of “Löjliga Spel Kort” (1825) illustrated playing cards from Sweden, showing scenes from Fredman‘s Epistles and Songs

Löjliga Spel Kort

Elvis Presley

Elvis Presley playing cards published by The United States Playing Card Company, c.2002

Elvis Presley

Gilbert & Sullivan Cards

“Gilbert & Sullivan” hand-made Savoy Operas pack designed and created by Rex Pitts.

Gilbert & Sullivan Cards

Russian Opera Scenes

Russian Opera & Theatre Scenes playing cards first published by the Colour Printing Plant (USSR, Russian Federation) in 1973

Russian Opera Scenes

Music Manuscripts

Artwork featuring playing cards in Music Manuscripts

Music Manuscripts

Pop Rocky

“Pop Rocky” miniature playing cards with double-ended caricatures of celebrities and pop stars, originally published inside a magazine, c.1970.

Pop Rocky

Requiem Playing Cards

This pack has been inspired by the Requiem Mass, a Mass celebrated for the souls of one or more deceased persons. The dark style of illustrations features occult symbols and imagery such as horns, hearts, thorns and skulls and the typography reflects ancient latin scripts.

Requiem Playing Cards

La Traviata

“La Traviata” playing cards designed by Erté, c.1985.

La Traviata

Girls’ Generation

“Girls’ Generation” (Korean: 소녀시대; Sonyeo Shidae) is a nine-member South Korean pop girl group formed by S.M. Entertainment in 2007.

Girls’ Generation

Karl Gerich No.27

The courts are characters from Wagner's opera “The Ring of the Nibelungs”, beautifully etched and hand coloured. Each character is named in a cursive script along each side of the card.

Karl Gerich No.27

Richard Wagner

Richard Wagner playing cards designed by Melchior Annen.

Richard Wagner

Tango

‘Tango’ playing cards from Argentina, c.2004.

Tango

Mambrú

Mambru pop group playing cards from Argentina, 2002.

Mambrú

Bandana

Bandana Argentine pop girl group playing cards 2002.

Bandana

Rodrigo El Potro

Naipes El Potro Rodrigo with Spanish suit symbols and photos of the pop singer on each card, c.2000.

Rodrigo El Potro

Argentinean Tango playing cards

The Tango - sultry and seductive - is Argentina's form of popular music and dance, invented in Buenos Aires in the 19th century.

Argentinean Tango playing cards

The Beggars’ Opera

The Beggars’ Opera Playing Cards were first published in 1728. The cards carry the words and music of the songs from Gay’s opera, which was intended as a parody of current Italian works. The music was taken from many popular tunes of the day.

The Beggars’ Opera

MusoDeck Playing Cards for Musicians

MusoDeck Playing Cards for Musicians

MusoDeck Playing Cards for Musicians