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Archaic and Obsolete Playing Card Patterns

Archaic and Obsolete Playing Card Patterns

Playing cards have a rich and fascinating history, with a wide variety of patterns and designs having been used throughout the centuries. A lot of these early patterns have fallen out of use and are now considered archaic or obsolete. Often only one example is known.

These old, historic patterns are sometimes discovered as stiffener inside old book bindings when these are repaired, or under floorboards in old buildings during restoration. They are sometimes discovered in ancient rubbish tips. They are of great interest to collectors, historians, and enthusiasts alike.

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Sevilla 1647 reproduction 1647

Sevilla 1647 reproduction

Facsimile of Spanish-suited pack produced in Sevilla, Spain, 1647.

Spanish National Pattern

Spanish National Pattern

Probably originating in Spain in the seventeenth century or even earlier, this pattern became strongly established by the Catalan cardmakers Rotxotxo of Barcelona.

The Combination of Images and Text on early playing cards

The Combination of Images and Text on early playing cards

When playing cards have titles or legends these reference a written/literary tradition of some form. It connects the image to a wider cultural sphere, extending the visual impact.

Toledo, 1584 1584

Toledo, 1584

Archaic Spanish-suited deck with 48 cards made in Toledo in 1584.

Trappola pack by Anton Herrl

Trappola pack by Anton Herrl

Trappola pack of 36 double-ended cards published by Anton Herrl, Graz, Austria.

Trappola pack by Joseph Fetscher 1739

Trappola pack by Joseph Fetscher

Trappola pack published by Joseph Fetscher, Graz, 1739.

Vittoriosa Church Museum 1609

Vittoriosa Church Museum

Antique playing cards in Vittoriosa Church Museum dating back to the Knights of Malta period.

XV Century Catalan playing cards 1490

XV Century Catalan playing cards

XV Century Catalan Playing Cards, featuring four female Sotas, four Aces and four cards from the suit of batons.

XV Century Italian Playing Cards 1462

XV Century Italian Playing Cards

Cards from a pack of an early form of north Italian playing cards, with the swords back-to-back and curved outwards. Believed to be Venetian, dated 1462.

XV Century Spanish-suited playing cards 1460

XV Century Spanish-suited playing cards

XV Century Spanish-suited playing cards with moorish influences