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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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Scandinavia

25 Articles
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‘501’ playing cards by Alf Cooke

“Five 'o One” playing cards, a version of the Dondorf Rhineland pattern, manufactured by Universal Playing Card Co. Ltd for export to Scandinavia. • Jan 01, 1970

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Åkerlund & Rausing

Swedish style pack by Åkerlund & Rausing, Stockholm, 1931-1937 • Mar 23, 2015

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Danbrit

Danbrit playing cards by Alf Cooke, 1930s • Jan 01, 1970

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Einar Nerman Patience

Einar Nerman (1888–1983) was a talented Swedish artist born in Norrköping who designed playing cards during the 1920s. • Sep 15, 2012

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Four Centuries

“Four Centuries” playing cards by Esselte Öbergs with court cards depicted as caricatures from different historical periods • Mar 22, 2015

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Jacob Bagges AB

Playing cards published by Jacob Bagges AB Stockholm, close copies of Dondorf designs • Mar 28, 2015

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Kalevala

Kalevala playing cards by Sunish Chabba and Ishan Trivedi inspired by ancient Finnish mythology. • Nov 07, 2018

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Kille

‘Kille’, an old Swedish card game • Mar 21, 2015

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L. P. Holmblad, c.1845

Holmblad ordered his earlier designs to be re-drawn and updated. Comparison of packs from this era show instances where one figure is replaced by another more imposing version. • May 05, 2013

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Löjliga Spel Kort

Facsimile edition of “Löjliga Spel Kort” (1825) illustrated playing cards from Sweden, showing scenes from Fredman‘s Epistles and Songs • Mar 31, 2015

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Öbergs ‘Svenska Lloyd’

‘Svenska Lloyd’ shipping company playing cards published by J.O. Öberg & Son, Eskilstuna, c.1955 • Mar 24, 2015

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Offason “Beau”

Offason AB “Beau” playing cards designed by Åke Arenhill from Sweden, c.1990 • Mar 21, 2015

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Olsen Smygvänliga

Olsen Spelkort Smygvänliga - Swedish pattern made by F.X. Schmid for Olsen • Mar 22, 2015

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P. Steinmann

Single-figure provincial Paris pattern cards with traditional names on the courts manufactured in Copenhagen by P. Steinmann, c.1820. • Aug 29, 2013

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Playing cards from Finland

Playing cards from Finland. Finnish cards have a relatively short history, presumably because the country only finally broke loose from Russian influence in 1920. • Oct 10, 2010

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Salakuljettaja Smugglaren

Salakuljettaja Smugglaren is the Scandinavian version of Pepys’ “Contraband” published by Förlag Bildkonst, 1958. • Oct 08, 2013

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Souvenir of Norway

Souvenir of Norway deck. • Aug 16, 2019

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Standard Handa Pattern

Standard Danish playing cards made by Handa, Copenhagen • Mar 26, 2015

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Standard Swedish Pattern

Standard Swedish type playing cards manufactured by J.O. Öberg & Son, Eskilstuna, 1929. • Sep 16, 2010

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Sweden

Swedish cards have characteristics in common with their Scandinavian neighbours • Sep 16, 2010

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Universe No.100 playing cards

Universe No.100 playing cards made by The Universal Playing Card Co. Ltd, Leeds, for Scandinavian countries. • Jan 01, 1970

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Vasa Dynasty

The House of Vasa was the royal house of Sweden 1523–1654 and subsequent rulers have emphasized their Vasa descent through a female line • Mar 13, 2015

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Views from Norway

“54 Views from Norway” souvenir playing cards published by Normanns Kunstforlag A/S, c.1990s. • Jan 11, 2016

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VR-VISA

VR-VISA playing cards published by VR Group, the state-owned railway company in Finland. • Apr 09, 2015

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Warburg’s Skandinaviske Bridge Kort

“Warburg’s Skandinaviske Bridge Kort” published by Aktieselskabet Emil Jensen, København, c.1935 • Apr 11, 2015