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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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15 Articles
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16: European Standard Playing Cards

A brief survey of the different types of standard cards to be found in Continental Europe. • Sep 18, 2012

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27: Cards at Strangers’ Hall, Norwich

There is a very interesting collection of playing cards held at the Strangers' Hall Museum in Norwich. • Jun 25, 2013

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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. • Aug 01, 2013

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Dvouhlavé Hrací Karty

“Dvouhlavé Hrací Karty” (Czech Seasons playing cards) made by Obchodní Tiskárny, c.1980 • Jul 21, 2017

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Lion Brand No.1492 : Jet Fuel

Advertising deck for "Jet" fuels, and "Lion Brand" No.1429 manufactured in Belgium by Biermans, 1960s. • Jun 01, 2015

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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. • Aug 09, 2012

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‘Monic’ brand playing cards, c.1930s • Jan 28, 2014

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Naipes ‘American’

Naipes ‘American’ by M.C. de CASABÓ Ltda, Montevideo, c.1950 • Jan 01, 1970

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Popular No.257

Piatnik’s “Popular Playing Cards” No.257 • Mar 02, 2016

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Russian Standard Playing Cards

Cards from a Russian standard woodblock and stencil pack of circa 1820. • Jan 01, 1970

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Salzburger Pattern

Salzburger pattern by Ferd. Piatnik & Söhne, Vienna • Jan 20, 2016

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Skat Express

One end Berlin pattern the other standard English pattern • Aug 06, 2016

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Standard and Non-standard Playing Cards

Standard playing cards are based upon traditional designs and are used for card games. • Jan 01, 1970

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Woolley & Co: “Eurekas”

Woolley & Co: “Eureka” playing cards with rounded corners, small index pips and decorative back design, c.1880-1885 • May 13, 2015

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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. • Jan 04, 2016