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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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Mardon, Son & Hall

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A division of Imperial Tobacco, they appear to have made cards almost exclusively for the cigarette token market, which flourished during the 1930s.

Mardon, Son & Hall of Bristol, branch of the Imperial Tobacco Company

A division of Imperial Tobacco, they appear to have made cards almost exclusively for the cigarette token market, which flourished during the 1930s.

Mardon, Son & Hall of Bristol, branch of the Imperial Tobacco Company

Wills Scheme

The W.D & H.O. Wills Playing Card promotion of the early 1930s

Wills Scheme

Wills’s Happy Families game

Wills’s “Happy Families” cards were issued by the Imperial Tobacco Company (of Great Britain and Ireland) Limited in around 1930.

Wills’s Happy Families game

Heber Mardon (1840- 1925)

Heber Mardon was born in 1840. With his father he founded the firm of Mardon and Son which, in 1863, became Mardon, Son & Hall.

Heber Mardon (1840- 1925)

Mardon, Son & Hall of Bristol, branch of the Imperial Tobacco Company

A division of Imperial Tobacco, they appear to have made cards almost exclusively for the cigarette token market, which flourished during the 1930s.

Mardon, Son & Hall of Bristol, branch of the Imperial Tobacco Company