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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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standard

15 Articles

Dvouhlavé Hrací Karty

“Dvouhlavé Hrací Karty” (Czech Seasons playing cards) made by Obchodní Tiskárny, c.1980.

Dvouhlavé Hrací Karty

Skat Express

One end Berlin pattern the other standard English pattern

Skat Express

Popular No.257

Piatnik’s “Popular Playing Cards” No.257

Popular No.257

Salzburger Pattern

Salzburger pattern by Ferd. Piatnik & Söhne, Vienna

Salzburger Pattern

Woolley & Co: “Second Harrys”

Woolley & Co produced a range of different quality playing cards, and these “Second Harrys” are towards the cheaper end of the range.

Woolley & Co: “Second Harrys”

Woolley & Co: “Eurekas”

Woolley & Co: “Eureka” playing cards with rounded corners, small index pips and decorative back design, c.1880-1885.

Woolley & Co: “Eurekas”

Monic

‘Monic’ brand playing cards, c.1930s

Monic

28: How to Analyze and Differentiate Playing Card Plates (De La Rue, Waddington and the Berlin pattern [französisches Bild])

My interest in postage stamp variants led me to apply the same principles to playing cards.

28: How to Analyze and Differentiate Playing Card Plates (De La Rue, Waddington and the Berlin pattern [französisches Bild])

27: Cards at Strangers’ Hall, Norwich

There is a very interesting collection of playing cards held at the Strangers' Hall Museum in Norwich.

27: Cards at Strangers’ Hall, Norwich

16: European Standard Playing Cards

A brief survey of the different types of standard cards to be found in Continental Europe.

16: European Standard Playing Cards

Lyons Pattern type iii

This pattern was used in various parts of eastern France but was ultimately replaced by the official ‘Paris’ pattern in c.1780.

Lyons Pattern type iii

Reynolds c.1830

Woodblock and stencil playing cards, produced by Reynolds & Sons c.1830-1850.

Reynolds c.1830

Standard and Non-standard Playing Cards

Standard playing cards are based upon traditional designs and are used for card games.

Standard and Non-standard Playing Cards

Russian Standard Playing Cards

Cards from a Russian standard woodblock and stencil pack of circa 1820.

Russian Standard Playing Cards

Naipes ‘American’

Naipes ‘American’ by M.C. de CASABÓ Ltda, Montevideo, c.1950.

Naipes ‘American’