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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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anonymous

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Anonymous possibly Kaspar Traugott Knaut.

The maker is possibly Kaspar Traugott Knaut (1799-1881).

Anonymous possibly Kaspar Traugott Knaut.

Handmade Black Peter

Handmade Black Peter cards.

Handmade Black Peter

Wartime Snap

Wartime edition of Snap game by an anonymous publisher.

Wartime Snap

Snap

An anonymous Snap game purporting to be “British Make”, 1930s.

Snap