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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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The Peerless Playing Card Company, London c.1890

James English's playing card factory was re-named Peerless in around 1880 when the title Peerless Card Company appeared on the ace of spades.

The Peerless Playing Card Company, London c.1890