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Political Playing Cards

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Political playing cards were introduced in the 17th century providing entertainment by satirising or deriding current events and leaders. Propaganda cards, Imperial decks, war cards and even educational card games all carry a message which relates to the politics of memory, the means by which events are remembered and recorded, the way history is written and passed on. Historical memory can be used to arouse emotional reactions...

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Academia Catavencu

Caricatures of Romanian political figures by Academia Catavencu.

Academia Catavencu

Anti-Fascist Propaganda Pack for the Siege of Leningrad, 1943

In 1943 a pack of ‘anti-fascist’ playing cards was designed by Vasiliy Andrianovich Vlasov mocking the rulers of Germany and the Axis powers.

Anti-Fascist Propaganda Pack for the Siege of Leningrad, 1943 1943


Deck from the liberation war against Napoleon, unknown maker, c.1815.

Anti-Napoleon 1815


The Russians were no strangers to propaganda cards. Clubs represent the Russian Orthodox church, Hearts Roman Catholicism, Spades Confucianism and Diamonds represent Judaism.

Anti-Religions 1930

Argentine Political Cards

Political Playing Cards, Buenos Aires, 1890.

Argentine Political Cards 1890

Army & Navy

Andrew Dougherty’s Army & Navy deck from the Civil War era, c.1865.

Army & Navy

Atouts de la Vie

“Atouts de la Vie” wartime card game created by Madame Lucien Willemetz, c.1940.

Atouts de la Vie 1940

Back to the USSR

Back to the USSR deck featuring communist party leaders and politicians, c.1995

Back to the USSR 1995

Bavarian Military Cards

The King of Acorns is supposed to represent Prince Otto; the King of Leaves is Maximilian II; the King of Bells is Ludwig II; the King of Hearts is Ludwig I wearing a general's uniform. The court cards are all male, but some of the numeral cards depict women.

Bavarian Military Cards 1880

Bush Cards – The Second Term

Cards slanted to the right, issued to mark George W. Bush’s second term of office.

Bush Cards – The Second Term 2005

Carel de Wagenaer

Facsimile edition of cards first published by Carel de Wagenaer, Amsterdam in c.1698

Carel de Wagenaer 1698

Cartes Imperiales et Royales

‘Cartes Imperiales et Royales’ published by B. P. Grimaud & Cie representing imperial rulers and consorts from Austria, England, France & Russia, mid-19th century

Cartes Imperiales et Royales

Churchill in WW2

Churchill ‘Walking with Destiny’ playing cards published by the Imperial War Museum.

Churchill in WW2

Deakin’s 1st edition

Deakin & Co., 45 Eastcheap, London EC published a political pack in 1886 with caricatures of political figures relating to the Irish Home Rule movement which was a contentious issue of the day.

Deakin’s 1st edition 1886

Die Neue ÖVP

Promotional deck for the Austrian People’s Party (ÖVP) printed by Piatnik, 1996.

Die Neue ÖVP 1996

European Naval Powers

“XVI Century European Naval Powers” deck illustrated by Isabel Ibáñez de Sendadiano and produced by Heraclio Fournier in 1981.

European Naval Powers 1981

Fynste Java Speelkaarten

Dondorf's "Fynste Java Speelkaarten No.17" was published to commemorate the second marriage of King William III with Princess Emma of Waldeck-Pyrmont, on January 7, 1879.

Fynste Java Speelkaarten 1879

Gayant, 1793

French Revolution playing cards published by Gayant in Paris, 1793.

Gayant, 1793 1793


8 cards and two jokers from the 'Gironda' pack, showing eminent statesmen and politicians from Lithuania from the 1990s.


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