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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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The Union Playing Card Co.

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The Traveler’s Companion

The “Traveler’s Companion”, Union Playing Card Co., New York, c.1886.

The Traveler’s Companion

Union Playing Card Co.

Not much is known about this early manufacturer who is reckoned to have traded between c.1870s-1890s.

Union Playing Card Co.