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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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sicilian

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Sicilian playing cards by Antonio Monasta

"Il Leon" Sicilian playing cards, 40-card pack based on Spanish designs, made in Sicily by Antonio Monasta, probably 17th century.

Sicilian playing cards by Antonio Monasta

Romagnole pattern by Guglielmo Murari

Romagnole pattern by Guglielmo Murari c.1920

Romagnole pattern by Guglielmo Murari

Sicilian Pattern

The Sicilian pack has a similar composition to the Neapolitan pack, and is small and squat in appearance.

Sicilian Pattern