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.
A brief survey of the different types of standard cards to be found in Continental Europe.
‘Baraja Marinera’ designed by Francisco Javier San Juan, published by Asescoin (Madrid), 1995
Advertising pack for the food producer Bischofszell, designed by Heinz Looser-Brenner, with non-standard suits.
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.
Five Suit Bridge was invented in Vienna in 1937 by Walter W. Marseille and Dr. Paul Stern.
Andalusian playing cards designed by Marifé Montoya Carrillo with booklet by Jorge Lirola Delgado, 2012.
Modern designs by Italian artist Marcello Morandini using the simplest of forms and colours.
Animal suited playing cards engraved by the Master of the Playing Cards, Germany, c.1455
Master PW Circular Playing Cards: roses, columbines, carnations, parrots and hares... everyday objects evoking life and fertility.
Courts in medieval costume holding both French and Italian/Spanish suit-signs.