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Transformation Playing Cards

Transformation of Playing Cards

The best-known fantasies with playing cards are the ‘Transformation’ cards. Hand-drawing ‘transformations’ onto a pack of ordinary playing cards, with the suit symbols forming part of the overall composition, became a popular pastime 200 years ago and a test of skill in drawing. A great deal of ingenuity is required in their design. The earliest printed sets were published at the start of the 19th century, often published in the form of an almanac or sometimes known as ‘metastasis’, and these became a fashionable and entertaining novelty.

In the strict sense of the word ‘Transformation’ the pips should be in their standard positions and form part of, or fit into, the overll image portrayed on the card.

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Cotta Transformation playing cards 1804

Cotta Transformation playing cards

In 1804, J.G. Cotta, a publisher and bookseller in Tübingen, Germany, produced the first set of transformation cards that was published as an actual deck of playing cards.

Crowquill Transformation 1850

Crowquill Transformation

Transformation playing cards designed by the illustrator, comic artist and stage designer ‘Alfred Crowquill’ (Alfred Henry Forrester, 1804-72), printed by Reynolds & Sons, c.1850.

Curator 2011


The Curator Deck with designs by Emmanuel José with suit symbols cleverly transformed into artistic designs.

EclecDeck 2013


EclecDeck transformation playing cards created by Dave Ufford, 2013.

Eclipse Comic playing cards (reproduction) 2020

Eclipse Comic playing cards (reproduction)

Eclipse Comic playing cards is a reproduction of the first transformation pack printed in the USA in 1876 by F.H. Lowerre.

El Barco 1895

El Barco

El Barco playing cards designed by E. Pastor, Valencia, Spain, c.1895

Emanuelle 1986


‘Emanuelle’ erotic transformation playing cards designed by Patrick Cuenot, 1986.

EPCS August 1992 Newsletter

EPCS August 1992 Newsletter Members Only

Cutty Sark • 50th Anniversary of the Award of the George Cross to the Island of Malta • W.D. & H.O. Will • Harry Lauder Snap • ABC Happy Families by Spears • Tower of London • Clan Tartan • EPCS 10th Anniversary Transformation Pack • Karl Gerich • HARP Beer Mat

EPCS August 1993 Newsletter

EPCS August 1993 Newsletter Members Only

Mercury • Wrigley's Chewing Gum • Queen Elizabeth II Coronation Game • Scottish Clan Tartan • The Card & Dice Office Evasion of Stamp Duty • 10th Anniversary Transformation Pack • Karl Gerich • Willis & Co • Globe Series

EPCS August 1998 Newsletter

EPCS August 1998 Newsletter Members Only

Stained Glass Windows: Lewis Carroll • Isle of Man Packs • Hand Decorated Transformation Pack • Happy Families: Cadbury MISFITZ • World Cup 1998 • New Issues: MISFITZ • Lyons Corner Houses: NIPPIES • Jovial Families: G.BROS Ltd • WG Grace Anniversary • English Standard Card Manufacturers • Nursery Rhyme Snap: Mother Goose • World of Alice: Lewis Carroll • De La Rue: Walt Disney Packs • SNAP: Geraldine Goodwin • Non Standard Pack: De La Rue Denmark 1950

EPCS August 1999 Newsletter

EPCS August 1999 Newsletter Members Only

Worshipful Company Pack: Declaration of War • World Cup Cricket 1999 • Hand Decorated Transformation Pack: De La Rue • Happy Families Book • Times of Early Long Cardlers: Michael Cooper • English Standard Card Manufacturers: Stopforth • New Issues: Showjumping, Postcards, Sporting • Metamorphoses: Comical Characters • Woolworths: Retail Revolution • Score Cards: Whist & Bridge • Nursery Rhyme Snap • Non Standard Packs: Floral Pack • Odds and Ends: Unidentified Court Cards • Ephemera: Army & Navy Stores Catalogue

EPCS February 1997 Newsletter

EPCS February 1997 Newsletter Members Only

Transformation • John Leighton - Goodall's Owen Jones • Alfred Bird • Worshipful Pack 1996 • Prince of Wales' visit to India • De La Rue Walt Disney Packs • Heritage Toy & Games • Hammer Films • Waddingtons • Flora • C.W. Faulkner • Gaelcarta • Perry • Isle or Man Part 9 • WWII • Irish Historic Set

EPCS February 1998 Newsletter

EPCS February 1998 Newsletter Members Only

Transformation • Tennis Snap • Happy Families • Worshipful Pack 1997 • Biggles • Richard Edward Ltd • Hall & Son • Waddingtons • American War of Independence • Hollywood Great Movie Stars • Glory of Venice • Famous Dogs of the World

EPCS February 1999 Newsletter

EPCS February 1999 Newsletter Members Only

Donald Welsh: Charles The Royal Martyr • Hand Decorated Transformation Packs • Boy Scout Snap: Empire Card Co • Happy Families Book • New Issues: Cadbury, WWI Posters, Wild Animals • Worshipful Company Pack 1998 • Richard Edward Ltd: Second Style • Charles Rennie Mackintosh • Nursery Rhyme Snap: De La Rue 1893 • Prince of Wales Theatre Birmingham • "Unique" Playing Cards • English Standard Card Manufacturers • Ephemera: Four Aces Piano Booklet • Non Standard Packs: John Player Special • House of Cards • Odds and Ends: De La Rue Old Frizzle • William Wordsworth Book Stationery • Solution to a Logical Challenge • Family Tree Magazine

EPCS February 2003 Newsletter

EPCS February 2003 Newsletter Members Only

Waddington Catalogue • Poets at the Card Table • Hindooy • White Witchcraft • New Transformation Cards • Cavalier Cards • See-through Pack • James Bond 007 • West Piggy Bank • Millennium Dome Souvenir • Fassett No-Revoke Pack • Zodiac Pack • Romany Fortune Telling Book • Decorative Items • Plastic Cards DLR • Picasso & Waddington • Cards, Words & Music • Rhyme Without Reason • Patience Books • PAK & Sovereign Guardsman • Imitation Goodall • William Mitchell (Brewer)

EPCS February 2006 Newsletter

EPCS February 2006 Newsletter Members Only

Bowil Results • The Black Knight's Revenge • Alf Cooke Continental Courts • Card-Squiggles (cont) • Winstanley Sales Sheet • Cards for Playing and Learning • Bestway • The Folk-Lore of Playing Cards • Cow & Gate Quads 1935-2005 • Colman's Crab • Waddington in Turkey • Mystery Pack • Cruikshank • Waddington's Children's Quartets • The Virtue of Princes (cont) • Joseph Evans & Sons • Happy Scholars (Latin without Tears) • Winning Hand • Trump Indicators

EPCS February 2023 Newsletter

EPCS February 2023 Newsletter Members Only

Transformation • Neil Darbyshire • Eminent Victorians • Lobo London Underground • One Shilling • Queen of Hearts • WCMPC 2022-23 • Art of the Playing Card Maker Jigsaws • Dublin Cardmaking Dynasty • Winstanley Jack of Clubs Greenlanders • Historical Pope Joan • Quit • Jaques One Shilling Games

EPCS June 2005 Newsletter

EPCS June 2005 Newsletter Members Only

Nederland Shipping Line • Iranian Playing Cards • Trump Indicators • Municipal Honours • Coney People Happy Tribes • Hand Drawn Whist Cards • The Cabinet Pack • SSAFRA • Lexicon Competitions • The Lancashire Lad • Hi-Speed • De La Rue 1875 • Court Fools and Jesters • Cadbury’s Chocolate Game • Posies • City Imperial Volunteers • Playing Card Images in Advertising • Coronation Gift 1911 • Delhi Durbar 1911 • It’s a Knockout • 19th C Transformation

EPCS June 2023 Newsletter

EPCS June 2023 Newsletter Members Only

Coronation • Who Were Rowley & Co. • Research Archives by WCMPC • Winstanley Queen of Clubs • Kirk's London Cries Revisited • Pub Quiz Snap • Street Cries Snap • Jarvis Porter • Ogilvy Game • Precedence • Rock Brothers and Pope Joan • A Fight Between Cardmakers • Brexit - the Real Deal • A French Mystery • Crown the Queen • Transformation Cards

EPCS May 1998 Newsletter

EPCS May 1998 Newsletter Members Only

Micky 1928-1998 • Abolition of Duty on Playing Cards • Nursery Rhyme Snap • Transformation • Titanic • Royal British Legion • Fakes and Forgeries • Multum in Parvo "Good Shilling Card Games" • Floral • Josiah Stone • Elvis • Grand Prix • Modern Art • Impressionist Portraits • Yorkshire • Mexico • Whist Rhymes • Spitfire • Valentine Games