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Playing Card Suits


Playing cards suits have evolved from the earliest Chinese money-based cards into the suit symbols we find around the world today, including the various European suit-systems (Italian and Spanish, Germanic and Swiss, French and English). There have also been variant, non-standard or experimental suit systems. Articles also include information on different suits used in modern decks, such as those with five suits and variants of traditional designs.

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16: European Standard Playing Cards

16: European Standard Playing Cards

A brief survey of the different types of standard cards to be found in Continental Europe.

African Renaissance Deck 2000

African Renaissance Deck

African Renaissance Deck published for Nkosi's Haven, South Africa, 2000.

Army & Navy

Army & Navy

Andrew Dougherty’s Army & Navy deck from the Civil War era, c.1865.

Baraja Marinera 1995

Baraja Marinera

‘Baraja Marinera’ designed by Francisco Javier San Juan, published by Asescoin (Madrid), 1995

Bischofszell 1987


Advertising pack for the food producer Bischofszell, designed by Heinz Looser-Brenner, with non-standard suits.

Carte Bolognesi 2023

Carte Bolognesi

New designs reinforcing Bologna’s reputation as the gastronomic capital of Italy.

Commoners playing cards 2020

Commoners playing cards

Created by Ian Cumpstey dedicated to the common land and the countryside.

Czech Nationalistic playing cards 1895

Czech Nationalistic playing cards

During the 19th century growing nationalist sentiment led to a rejection of Austro-Hungarian culture in favour of that of the native Czech people. One outcome from this movement was a ‘Nationalistic’ pack of playing cards painted by Emanuel Neumann.

Estate Playing Cards 2006

Estate Playing Cards

Estate Playing Cards with five suits designed by Keith Wilson

Five Suit Bridge 1937

Five Suit Bridge

Five Suit Bridge was invented in Vienna in 1937 by Walter W. Marseille and Dr. Paul Stern.

Hindooly 1904


Hindooly published by Chas Goodall & Son Ltd with four newly designed suits, c.1904.

Il Quinto Seme 1977

Il Quinto Seme

An Italian pack with a fifth suit of “amici” (“friends”).

Infirrera 1693


Italo-Portuguese-suited cards by Andrea Infirrera with the arms of Malta, 1693.

Juego de Naipes Andalusí 2012

Juego de Naipes Andalusí

Andalusian playing cards designed by Marifé Montoya Carrillo with booklet by Jorge Lirola Delgado, 2012.

Laughing Made Easy 1875

Laughing Made Easy

a Victorian card game published by D. Ogilvy.

Le Burling 1962

Le Burling

1960s pack from Annecy with non-standard suits all connected with the office.

Marcello Morandini 1973

Marcello Morandini

Modern designs by Italian artist Marcello Morandini using the simplest of forms and colours.

Master of the Playing Cards 1455

Master of the Playing Cards

Animal suited playing cards engraved by the Master of the Playing Cards, Germany, c.1455

Master PW Circular Cards 1500

Master PW Circular Cards

Master PW Circular Playing Cards: roses, columbines, carnations, parrots and hares... everyday objects evoking life and fertility.

New Orleans Suits 1999

New Orleans Suits

New Orleans Suits playing cards designed by Eddie Tebbe, USA, 1999.