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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 manufacturer:

J. W. Spear and Sons

13 Articles

Jacob Wolfe Spear founded his company manufacturing fancy goods in 1879 near Nuremberg in Bavaria, Germany

J. W. Spear and Sons

Jacob Wolfe Spear founded his company manufacturing fancy goods in 1879 near Nuremberg in Bavaria, Germany

J. W. Spear and Sons

J. W. Spear and Sons

Jacob Wolfe Spear founded his company manufacturing fancy goods in 1879 near Nuremberg in Bavaria, Germany

J. W. Spear and Sons

Märchen-Quartett

Märchen-Quartett (Fairy Tales) illustrated by J. P. Werth and published by J. W. Spear & Söhne, c.1915.

Märchen-Quartett

Fancy Dress Ball

Spear’s “Fancy Dress Ball” card game with children dressed in period costumes, 1930s.

Fancy Dress Ball

Flintstones Happy Families

Flintstones Happy Families by J. W. Spear and Sons, c.1960.

Flintstones Happy Families

The Lost Heir

“The Lost Heir” was first issued by J. W. Spear and Sons in UK in 1912.

The Lost Heir

Spears Happy Families

Spears Happy Families.

Spears Happy Families

Snap

Spear’s “Snap” card game from the 1920s.

Snap

J. W. Spear and Sons: ‘Zoology’

Quartet games with scientific illustrations became popular during the Victorian and Edwardian eras. J. W. Spear and Sons Zoology quartet game is a lesson in natural history.

J. W. Spear and Sons: ‘Zoology’

Comical Dominoes

Comical Dominoes game manufactured in Germany by J. W. Spear & Sons, early 1900s

Comical Dominoes

Globe Trotters

Globe Trotters follows the journey of a group of travellers who depart from Genoa by ocean liner and sail to the Orient for the ultimate travel experience.

Globe Trotters

Le Progrès de la Circulation

The beautiful images in this quartet game published by Jeux Spear in 1933 depict the progress of transport and travel since early times up til the 1930s.

Le Progrès de la Circulation

Graf Zeppelin

A card game commemorating the first round the world flight by the Graf Zeppelin, published by J.W. Spear & Söhne, Nuremberg, in 1930.

Graf Zeppelin

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