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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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13 Articles
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Alice with artwork by Jesús Blasco, published by Lo Scarabeo, 2003. • Mar 07, 2021

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Deck inspired by Gulliver‘s Travels book by Jonathan Swift, Lo Scarabeo, 2003. • Mar 12, 2021

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History of Flight

“History of Aviation” playing cards published by Lo Scarabeo (2003) in which every card carries a painting representing an aspect of the history of powered flight • May 05, 2015

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Il Circo

Il Circo illustrated by Jules Garnier, published by Lo Scarabeo, 2004. • Feb 27, 2021

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Jeu de la Géographie

“Jeu de Géographie” educational playing cards etched by Stefano Della Bella (1610-1664) and published by Henry le Gras, c.1644. • Oct 18, 2017

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Liberty playing cards designed by Antonella Castelli, published by Lo Scarabeo, 2003. • Feb 28, 2021

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Martin Mystère

Martin Mystère based on the comic book by Alfredo Castelli. The cards were designed by Giancarlo Alessandrini. • Jan 12, 2021

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Musikalisches Kartenspiel

Facsimile of Dondorf’s “Musikalisches Kartenspiel” (c.1862) published by Lo Scarabeo, 2004 • Mar 31, 2018

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Pinocchio fairy tale playing cards illustrated by Iassen Ghiuselev for Lo Scarabeo, 2003. • Mar 22, 2018

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Portraits of a Lady

Portraits of a Lady by Lo Scarabeo, 2003. • Mar 21, 2021

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Serravalle-Sesia Tarot

Serravalle-Sesia Tarot published by Fratelli Avondo, c.1880 • Jul 28, 2013

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The Book of Trades by Jost Amman, 1588

The Book of Trades by the prolific German Renaissance artist Jost Amman (1539-91). Suits are books, printers' pads, wine-pots and drinking cups. • Jan 01, 1970

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William Tell

Facsimile of Swiss William Tell deck from c.1870 published by Lo Scarabeo. • Feb 26, 2021