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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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rouennais

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Karl Gerich No.20: Rouennais A

The Aces are decorated with the pip in a central circle and two different figures at each end of the card. The courts are lavishly illustrated.

Karl Gerich No.20: Rouennais A

No.14 Rouennais

As far as is known, ‘Rouennais’ has only ever been produced as a sheet of etched court cards and aces. The designs are based on the early playing cards produced in Rouen (France) which became the antecedents of the standard English pattern.

No.14 Rouennais