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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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Tarock or Tarok

23 Articles

Cartas Gitanas

The designs of these fortune-telling cards are largely taken from nineteenth century Austrian "Rural Scenes" Tarock cards.

Cartas Gitanas

Tarok c.1900

Piatnik & Söhne “Industrie und Glück” Tarok c.1905-1910.

Tarok c.1900

Jugendstil Tarock

‘Jugendstil Tarock’ was designed by Ditha Moser and first published by Albert Berger and Josef Glanz in 1906.

Jugendstil Tarock

Animal Tarot

Woodblock and stencil Animal Tarot cards, probably of German origin, 2nd half 18th century.

Animal Tarot

Soldaten Tarock

Piatnik was known for their magnificent quality of chromo-lithographic printing, and this facsimile, or reprint, of “Soldaten Tarock No. 217” is virtually as magnificent as the original.

Soldaten Tarock

Dondorf Tarot Aces

The four suits are associated with four countries: Clubs = Germany, Diamonds = UK, Spades = Russia and Hearts = France.

Dondorf Tarot Aces

Dondorf Tarot

Dondorf's “Microscopique Tarock“ was first published in c.1870. The scenes portrayed at each end of the trump cards are marvels of miniature graphic artwork and printing.

Dondorf Tarot

Bourgeois Tarot

Bourgeois Tarot by Vereinigte Altenburger und Stralsunder Spielkarten-Fabriken.

Bourgeois Tarot

Verkehrte-Welt-Tarock

"Verkehrte-Welt-Tarock” (reverse world ?) manufactured by Christian Theodor Sutor (fl. 1823-1854), Naumburg, around 1850.

Verkehrte-Welt-Tarock

Johann Herrl

Tarock deck made by Johann Herrl in Graz 1815

Johann Herrl

Piatnik Tarock

Deck of "Industrie und Glück" or "Rural Scenes" tarock cards manufactured by Ferd Piatnik & Söhne, Vienna, c.1910.

Piatnik Tarock

Tarock Cards

The earliest Tarot decks originated in Italy in the fifteenth century, with Italian suit symbols. However the game was very popular elsewhere and tarots with French suit signs, usually called "tarok" or "tarock", appeared around 1750 which are now mainly produced in Austria.

Tarock Cards

Estel Tarok

J. Estel Tarok, 1820.

Estel Tarok

Pittner Tarok

Ferd Pittner, Tarok Cards

Pittner Tarok

Western PCC

The Western Playing Card Company was formed in 1927. The exact history and origins are not clear.

Western PCC

Taroquis ‘Obelisco’

78-card 'Taroquis Marca Obelisco' published by Mario Colombo, Buenos Aires, during the 1950s, 60s & 70s, in the style known as "Tarocco Piemontese" which had been developed by Italian cardmakers during the nineteenth century.

Taroquis ‘Obelisco’

Tarocco Piemontese | Piedmontese tarot

The double ended version of the Piedmontese Tarot evolved during the second half of the nineteenth century, most probably in Turin. It is still produced and used today.

Tarocco Piemontese | Piedmontese tarot

Adametz, Vienna

Cards from a 54-card "Austrian Tarock" or "Industrie und Glück Tarock" pack made by Franz Adametz of Vienna, c.1948. This type of pack originated around the middle of the 19th century and was used (and still is) in Austria and Hungary.

Adametz, Vienna

Danish Tarok Cards - Holmblad, c.1850

The traditional animal images on tarok decks are here substituted by images of buildings from Copenhagen and the surrounding area. The deck had several editions, with each new edition updating the latest changes to the buildings that had taken place since the previous edition.

Danish Tarok Cards - Holmblad, c.1850

Danish Tarok Cards - Salomon & Co., c.1906

Danish Tarok cards published by S. Salomon & Co., Kjøbenhavn, c.1906.

Danish Tarok Cards - Salomon & Co., c.1906

Danish playing cards - Tarock trumps

Two versions of trump no.15 depicting the Thorvaldsen Museum.

Danish playing cards - Tarock trumps

Animal Tarok by Jean Friedrich Mayer (1752-1783)

Animal Tarok by Jean Friedrich Mayer (1752-1783).

Animal Tarok by Jean Friedrich Mayer (1752-1783)