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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.

Browsing keyword:

wartime

52 Articles

Luxus Skatkarte Nr.1134

Luxus Skatkarte Nr.1134 printed by Brepols for Germany, c.1940s.

Luxus Skatkarte Nr.1134

Anma US Armed Forces

Anma US Armed Forces, 1942.

Anma US Armed Forces

Victory

“Victory" cards celebrating U.S. participation in the Allied victory, c.1945.

Victory

Le Jeu de la Guerre

Facsimile of “Le Jeu de la Guerre” designed by Gilles de la Boissière in 1698.

Le Jeu de la Guerre

Inspector

Inspector card game published by W F Jackson & Sons, 1940s.

Inspector

Spy

Spy card game published by Valentine’s Games, c.1915.

Spy

Sister Susie Snap

Sister Susie Snap published by Valentine & Sons Ltd, c.1915.

Sister Susie Snap

Who’s Who

Who’s Who or Food for Thought, a wartime card game, c.1939.

Who’s Who

Atouts de la Vie

“Atouts de la Vie” wartime card game created by Madame Lucien Willemetz, c.1940.

Atouts de la Vie

Prisoners of War

Hand-made playing cards by French prisoners of war in Porchester Castle, Hampshire, c.1796.

Prisoners of War

Safety First

Safety First card game embodying the Kerb Drill, published by John Jaques & Son Ltd, 1940s.

Safety First

Victory Snap

Wartime Snap, a memoir of past times, c.1941.

Victory Snap

World Leaders Snap

World Leaders Snap published around WW2, c.1940.

World Leaders Snap

Wizard of Oz

Wizard of Oz card game published by Pepys, 1940,

Wizard of Oz

Churchill in WW2

Churchill ‘Walking with Destiny’ playing cards published by the Imperial War Museum.

Churchill in WW2

Mapit

“Mapit” war map card game published by Geographia Ltd, 55 Fleet Street, London E.C., c.1940s.

Mapit

Aleister Crowley Tarot – the sombre luminary

Aleister Crowley Tarot - Crowley and Lady Freda Harris worked on the illustrations between 1938 and 1943

Aleister Crowley Tarot – the sombre luminary

Mayall Press Art Studies

Photographic playing cards - each face having an "art study" of a female nude, Mayall Press, Stockwell, London, c.1946.

Mayall Press Art Studies

Prince of Wales National Relief Fund 1914

A two-pack patience set produced by Thomas De la Rue on behalf of the Prince of Wales National Relief Fund in 1914.

Prince of Wales National Relief Fund 1914

Siegfried Line

“We’re Gonna Hang Out the Washing on the Siegfried Line” wartime card game made by William Sessions Ltd, 1940s

Siegfried Line

Squadron Scramble

“Squadron Scramble” card games for identifying military planes, Whitman Publishing Co., Racine, Wisconsin, 1942.

Squadron Scramble

Temple Press War Planes

“War Planes” playing cards for aircraft recognition published by Temple Press Limited, c.1940.

Temple Press War Planes

Victory

“Victory” by Pepys Games, a splendid game with caricatures of British and German leaders, published in 1940.

Victory

Vacuation

“Vacuation” published by Pepys games, based on the evacuation of children to Reception Areas in the countryside during WW2, c.1939-40.

Vacuation

Le Jeu des Alliés

“Le Jeu des Alliés” manufactured by Mesmaekers N.V., Turnhout, 1945.

Le Jeu des Alliés

England Expects

‘England Expects’ card game published by Pepys Games in 1940.

England Expects

Convoy

“Convoy” WW2 card game published by Tree Brand c.1940, based on wartime naval convoys.

Convoy

N.A.S.A. Aircraft

Lessons of a Widowmaker and Other NASA Aircraft, c.2010.

N.A.S.A. Aircraft

Film Fantasy

Pepys “Film Fantasy” card game based on MGM’s most popular 1939 film releases, issued just at the time when WW2 began

Film Fantasy

Première Guerre Mondiale

“Première Guerre Mondiale 1914-1918” playing cards published by Éditions J.C. Dusserre (Maitres Cartiers Boéchat Frères), Paris.

Première Guerre Mondiale

Zoom

“Zoom” Airplane card game published by Whitman Publishing Co., Racine, USA, ©1941.

Zoom

Wartime Snap

Wartime edition of Snap game by an anonymous publisher.

Wartime Snap

Ordnance Recognition

Ordnance Recognition Playing Cards cards designed to help people at risk from unexploded bombs

Ordnance Recognition

They’re Off

“They’re Off” horse racing card game by Pepys, c.1940.

They’re Off

Peter Pan

Peter Pan by Pepys Games, first edition 1939.

Peter Pan

Famo

Famo, the historical card game, 1939.

Famo

Panda’s Party

Panda’s Party published by Pepys Games, 1940.

Panda’s Party

Mr Chad

Anonymous ‘Mr Chad’ card game, 1940s.

Mr Chad

Kriegs-Spiel by Peter Schencken, Amsterdam

Peter Schencken of Amsterdam copied the "Jeu de la Guerre" or "Das Kriegs-Spiel" (with German captions) originated by Gilles de La Boissière and published by Mariette in 1668 in Paris.

Kriegs-Spiel by Peter Schencken, Amsterdam

Civil Unrest Playing Cards

A deck of cards inspired by the American Civil War, featuring leaders, army generals, President Abraham Lincoln and other characters from this historical period.

Civil Unrest Playing Cards

Army & Navy

Andrew Dougherty’s Army & Navy deck from the Civil War era, c.1865.

Army & Navy

L’union fait la force

“L’Union Fait la Force”, sometimes known as “the Allied pack”, has the four suits dedicated to the victorious nations of the Second World War.

L’union fait la force

Submarine Cards

Lighting in submarines involved wearing red goggles to preserve night vision for viewing instrument panels. The goggles solved one problem but created another: the red suits on playing cards were not visible through the red goggles.

Submarine Cards

WW1 Commemorative

In 1919 Brepols commemorated the victories of World War I with two new packs featuring portraits of Allied leaders on the court cards and famous battle scenes on the Aces.

WW1 Commemorative

Anheuser-Busch Army & Navy

This deck is commonly known as the “Anheuser-Busch Spanish-American War deck”, issued at the end of the war.

Anheuser-Busch Army & Navy

26th Yankee Division

“26th Yankee Division Playing Cards” was designed by Alban B. Butler, Jr and printed by the Press of the Woolly Whale, New York, in 1933.

26th Yankee Division

Seminole Wars deck by James Y. Humphreys, Philadelphia, c.1819

Court cards from the Seminole Wars deck by J. Y. Humphreys, Philadelphia, c.1819. Ace of Spades from Jazaniah Ford's Decatur deck, 1815. Jazaniah Ford was born in Milton (Massachusetts) in 1757

Seminole Wars deck by James Y. Humphreys, Philadelphia, c.1819

Black Peter, c.1940

Black Peter card deck for children printed in Riga during World War II, believed to have been designed by a Latvian artist.

Black Peter, c.1940

Alfreds Scwedrevitz

This pack was issued during wartime, in 1936, under the name “Latvian Red Cross Cards No.7”.

Alfreds Scwedrevitz

War Aid

Hadsegélyzö Kártya ('War Aid Pack' or 'War Aid Cards') Nr. 63 designed by Leo Kober and first published by Piatnik, Budapest, in 1917.

War Aid