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.
Transformed playing cards featuring satirical caricatures of political figures then in the ascendant, Paris, c.1819. • Apr 12, 2016
A very impressive deck of cards featuring 54 different images from “Chinese Roles of Beijing Opera” published by HCG Poker Productions, 2005 • Sep 21, 2015
The deck is described on the box as “a portfolio of photographs of the leading lights of the stage” • Feb 14, 2013
Promotional deck produced by the British gentleman’s magazine “Esquire” c.2002. • Apr 24, 2015
Tobacco insert cards were a very successful marketing innovation which started in the nineteenth century. • Mar 07, 2013
Historical Theatrical playing cards manufactured by J. Glanz, c.1865 • Oct 26, 2014
Playing cards showing the influence of ‘Jugendstil’ manufactured by the Soviet Playing Card Monopoly (U.S.S.R.) 1930 • Jun 09, 2014
Panto People published by E. S. & A. Robinson, c.1930s. • May 11, 2021
Clifford Series “Pantomime Snap” • Feb 29, 2012
Russian Opera & Theatre Scenes playing cards first published by the Colour Printing Plant (USSR, Russian Federation) in 1973 • Aug 20, 2014
Schiller deck made by Conrad Ludwig Wüst, Frankfurt/Main, ca. 1834 • Apr 27, 2011
‘Stage’ card game © 1904 C. M. Clark Publishing Co. Boston, Mass. with portraits of popular actors and actresses. • Jun 19, 2016
This beautiful deck features an oval half-tone photo of a theatre star on each card, many of them legendary names, along with their autograph beneath. The border artwork consists of a different coloured floral pattern for each suit. The back has a decorative panel with theatre masks. • Feb 15, 2013
Dutch singers, TV and theatre artist playing cards for “Story” magazine, 1978. • Aug 26, 2017
"Tales from the Stage" - an article about theatrical playing cards by Rod Starling • Feb 16, 2013
The court cards and Aces each feature four portraits of famous theatre stars from the 1890s inside round frames, against a background pattern based on traditional court cards. • Feb 15, 2013