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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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victorian

33 Articles

Multum in Parvo Co., Ltd

Multum in Parvo published a range of indoor games during the period from 1884-1927.

Multum in Parvo Co., Ltd

One Penny Games

One Penny Card Games, 1920s.

One Penny Games

One Penny Games 2

One Penny Card Games, 1900-1910, mostly anonymous 'Snap' games and made in Germany.

One Penny Games 2

A Royal Game

A Royal Game featuring Queen Victoria’s children and extended family, published by A. Collier, London, c.1896.

A Royal Game

Animal Misfitz

Animal Misfitz designed by George Lambert for Faulkner Games, c.1900.

Animal Misfitz

Snap

Snap card game published in UK by Globe (Oppenheimer und Sulzbacher), late 19th century.

Snap

Zoological Misfitz

Zoological Misfitz card game published by C.W. Faulkner.

Zoological Misfitz

Lend Me Five Shillings

Lend Me Five Shillings; or, Her Majesty's Privy Purse by John Jaques & Son, c.1875

Lend Me Five Shillings

The Streets of London

“The Streets of London” published by John Jaques & Son, London, c.1880

The Streets of London

Sefite card game

“Sefite” card game, Woolley & Co,. Ltd, London, c.1905

Sefite card game

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”

Spin & Old Maid

Lovely Victorian family card game with illustrations by the famous humorous artist, cartoonist and illustrator Richard Doyle (1824-1883)

Spin & Old Maid

Stop Thief & Snip-Snap

Another late Victorian family card game by Thomas de la Rue & Co Ltd, c.1895 with beautifully illustrated period characters.

Stop Thief & Snip-Snap

Moods & Faces

“Moods & Faces” round game by Thos de la Rue & Co Ltd,. c.1900.

Moods & Faces

The Odd Trick

The Odd Trick - a bit of Edwardian naughtiness.

The Odd Trick

Chad Valley ‘Sporting Snap’ c.1895

Chad Valley ‘Sporting Snap’ card game designed by Max Pollock c.1895.

Chad Valley ‘Sporting Snap’ c.1895

Woolley & Co: “Eurekas”

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

Woolley & Co: “Eurekas”

Our Kings and Queens

An historical & educational card game designed and published by Mazawattee Tea Co., Ltd, London, c.1902

Our Kings and Queens

Tut=Tut

“Tut=Tut; or a Run in a Motor Car” published by Woolley & Co Ltd, early 1900s

Tut=Tut

Jovial Families

“Jovial Families” card game published by A. Collier, London, c.1890.

Jovial Families

Transformation c.1880

Transformation playing cards hand-drawn on a pack manufactured by Hunt’s Playing Card Manufacturing Co Ltd c.1880

Transformation c.1880

District Messenger

District Messengers were uniformed young men wearing little pill-box hats and mounted on bicycles who fulfilled urgent tasks and were paid by the mile

District Messenger

Goodall c.1845-60

Goodall’s earliest cards were traditional in appearance but in around 1845 ‘modernised’ courts were designed

Goodall c.1845-60

St George Game

St George Game, 1858, depicting St George and other saints engaged in battle slaying the dragon to save souls from perdition.

St George Game

Spear’s Old Maid

Spear’s “The Jolly Game of Old Maid” was introduced around 1900. The cards contain some interesting but harmless social stereotypes from the end of the Victorian era.

Spear’s Old Maid

Jaques’ Illustrated Proverbs

Jaques’ Illustrated Proverbs, c.1870. The complete proverb is printed along the top of each card in the set.

Jaques’ Illustrated Proverbs

Most Laughable Thing on Earth

The Most Laughable Thing on Earth, or, A Trip to Paris published by H. G. Clarke & Co., London, c.1870.

Most Laughable Thing on Earth

Language of Flowers

Language of Flowers by Past Times, c.1999.

Language of Flowers

Transformation Playing Cards, 1811

Transformation playing cards, first published in 1811, in which each card bears a picture in which the suit marks are concealed within the design. This artistic exercise began as an 18th century parlour game and pastime.

Transformation Playing Cards, 1811

Chas Goodall and Son 1820-1922

Today nothing remains of Charles Goodall's Camden Works, where three-quarters of the playing cards printed in Britain were produced.

Chas Goodall and Son 1820-1922