The World of Playing Cards Logo

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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spelling

10 Articles

Majas Alfabets Spel

Majas Alfabets Spel beautifully illustrated by Lena Andersson, 1980s.

Majas Alfabets Spel

My Word

My Word “The last word in card games” designed by Michael Kindred and Malcolm Smith, published in 1980 by Waddingtons.

My Word

Spell

Spell word game published by Pepys Games, 1958.

Spell

Children’s Vocabulary Cards

Thai Children’s Colour Vocabulary Cards promoting Ovaltine chocolate malt drink, 2016

Children’s Vocabulary Cards

Lexicon

The summer of 1932 saw the introduction of Lexicon, when a small edition was produced and sold to test the market.

Lexicon

Spelka

Spelka, a word game published by John Jaques & Son Ltd, c.1908.

Spelka

The New Game of Animals

Victorian card game with imaginatively designed letters which spell the name of an animal, with one card representing the animal spelt.

The New Game of Animals

Jaime Margarit - Recreo Infantil

'Recreo Infantil' children's educational cards published by Jaime Margarit, Palamós (Gerona) c.1888.

Jaime Margarit - Recreo Infantil

Chitrashala Press

Chitrashala Press produced some charming children's pictorial alphabet cards for early learning purposes in the 1940s.

Chitrashala Press

Sylabex / Wordmaker

Sylabex / Wordmaker was first published by Pepys in 1948.

Sylabex / Wordmaker