The World of Playing Cards Logo

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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Altenburger Spielkartenfabrik Schneider & Co

5 Articles

Leipzig Exhibition Skat, 1897

“Leipziger Skat-Karte” depicting scenes from the Leipzig Industry and Trade Exhibition designed by Arthur Lewin, 1897.

Leipzig Exhibition Skat, 1897

Hansa-Karte

Bechstein design reprinted by Vereinigte Stralsunder Spielkartenfabriken AG former Schneider & Co., c1925.

Hansa-Karte

North German pattern

The North German pattern appeared in the mid-19th century, derived from the French ‘Paris’ pattern,

North German pattern

Otto Tragy Jugendstil Spielkarten

Special Jugendstil playing cards designed by Otto Tragy and first published by Altenburger Spielkartenfabrik Schneider & Co. in c.1898.

Otto Tragy Jugendstil Spielkarten

Prussian Pattern

Derived from Jagdkarten or Hunting cards with patriotic overtones and rural scenes as vignettes on the numeral cards, the Prussian pattern emerged in the middle of the nineteenth century.

Prussian Pattern