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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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Satire

10 Articles
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Adolfo Matarelli Transformation

Matarelli was a well known caricaturist who first illustrated Carlo Collodi's famous Pinocchio story. He was also a collaborator in the satirical magazine “Il Lampione”, founded by Collodi. • May 12, 2013

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Cartes à Rire

Transformed playing cards featuring satirical caricatures of political figures then in the ascendant, Paris, c.1819. • Apr 12, 2016

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Delightful Cards, c.1723

Delightful Cards, containing variety of entertainment for young Ladies and Gentlemen c.1723. • Aug 31, 2017

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El Tripero

Hand-drawn semi-erotic, satirical playing cards by Lautaro Fiszman ‘El Tripero’, 2002. • Apr 05, 2018

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John Bull

“John Bull”, the Capital English Game published by W. Cremer, c.1865. • May 09, 2016

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Mr Punch’s Playing Cards

Mr Punch’s Playing Cards, 1896. • Dec 28, 1996

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Peter Flötner, c.1545

Seven cards from a satirical pack produced by Peter Flötner of Nuremberg, c.1545. The suit symbols are acorns, leaves, bells and hearts. The block-cutter and publisher was Franz Christoph Zell. • Jan 01, 1970

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Polit-Poker 1984

“Polit-Poker” designed by Bubec (Lutz Backes), 1984. • Oct 13, 2014

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Tarot de l’An 2000

“Tarot de l’An 2000” designed by Pino Zac, 1981, satirising 20th century life. • Apr 03, 2016

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The Simpsons™

The official ‘Simpsons’ playing cards produced by Winning Moves Games, 2003. • Apr 13, 2015