Sands & McDougall, playing card manufacturers, Melbourne, late 1890s-c.1970
‘Pelaco’ playing cards with Aboriginal characters by Sands & McDougall, Australia, c.1930
“Baraja Histórica” (Descubridores y Colonizadores de America) manufactured by Heraclio Fournier S.A., 1952 designed by Ricardo Summers “Serny”
Bjørn Wiinblad (1918-2006) was a Danish painter, designer and ceramics artist
Historical Theatrical playing cards manufactured by J. Glanz, c.1865
“Kenya Tribus” playing cards published by Sapra, Mount Kenya Sundries Ltd, Nairobi, 1991
Playing cards depicting imagined residents of St. Petersburg with illustrations by Alexei Bobrinsky
Irish Historic Playing Cards celebrating history and art, 1920
The first of two decks designed by Ukrainian illustrator Vladislav Erko for “Korchma Taras Bulba” restaurant which serves traditional Ukrainian cuisine
Antique English woodblock playing cards by a card maker named C. Hewson, mid-17th century
Originally published as “Slavonic Cards No.501” by The Colour Printing Plant, St. Petersburg, in the 1920s
Playing cards designed by Hans Sebald Beham (1500–1550).
“Seasons” playing cards published by The Colour Printing Plant in St Petersburg in 1971, designed by U. P. Ivanov
Dating is a particularly tricky but very interesting problem to tackle and there are many pitfalls
“Carte per Signora” patience pack was produced by Fratelli Armanino, Genova, in c.1897
Playing cards showing the influence of ‘Jugendstil’ manufactured by the Soviet Playing Card Monopoly (U.S.S.R.) 1930
Russian “Historical extra fine No.204” Playing Cards depicting Ancient Dynasties, 1920s
The “Baraja Constitucional” commemorates the declaration in Cádiz of the Constitution of 1812 and was designed and created by Simón Ardit y Quer in 1822
Original Tarot designs in Italian Renaissance style by Oliver Mundy
‘Ganjifa’ playing cards made in Sheopor in the North of Madhya Pradesh province in Central India. The Ganjifa game probably developed from 13th century games played by Mamluk immigrants from China.
‘Première Croisade’ with single-ended courts by Daveluy, Bruges, c.1850.
Hodges’ pack dealing with astronomy had numeral cards carrying diagrams of constellations and their pictorial representations.
Marseille Tarot cards by Charles Cheminade of Grenoble, France, early 18th century.
Playing cards commemorating the IX centenary of the death of ‘El Cid’ designed by Vicente S. Algora.
Baraja IV Centenario Don Quijote is the work of artist Vicente Arnás, published by Asescoin, Madrid, 2004.
Pictorial trade cards were becoming popular throughout Europe so that tea, tobacco, chocolate or even beef extract were the commodities most associated with beautifully lithographed insert cards.
Non-standard Spanish-suited playing cards created by Rafael Rodriguez Hernandez and published by Ediciones Baja Andalucia, Sevilla, c.1980.
Serravalle-Sesia Tarot published by Fratelli Avondo, c.1880
The Eglantine Table, Hardwick Hall, Derbyshire, elaborately inlaid with marquetry depicting musical instruments, playing-cards, games and heraldic references.
Beautiful Bath is a hand-made pack by Karl Gerich which was published in 1996.
The cards shown here were originally printed in 12-colour lithography and published by Heraclio Fournier in 1889.
An amazing difference can be seen between the early and the later Jacob Holmblad packs, covering a time span of only 17 years.
The Q♥ has a butterfly net in which she has caught four hearts. Many of Holmblad's designs were replaced or changed in different editions, but this design was not used again.
Instead of the old emblematic designs, the trump cards show illustrations of animals, which could possibly have symbolic meanings or moralizing interpretations
Matarelli was a well known caricaturist who first illustrated Carlo Collodi's famous Pinocchio story. He was also a collaborator in the satirical magazine “Il Lampione”, founded by Collodi.
Quénioux believed that aesthetic feelings are the highest values: “C’est précisément cet amour de l’artisan pour le travail qu’il accomplit, la satisfaction intime qu’il en éprouve, qui ont donné naissance à tous les arts et qui ont fait dire que l’a...
Published by the Hycrest Playing Card Co., New York, c.1931. The large suit symbol behind each figure enhances the visual impact of the deck, as does the splendid back design & Joker.
The title refers to “a new form of Tarocchini”. Mitelli's designs are to a high standard of artistic quality and a complete departure from the old tradition, especially the 22 Trump cards which are unnamed and unnumbered.
Imperial Royal Playing Cards published by S. & J. Fuller, 34 Rathbone Place, London, 1828. The court cards show bust portraits of historical figures of England, Spain, Turkey and France.
“Tarocchino Lombardo” c.1835, a limited facsimile edition of 2500 by Edizione del Solleone, Italy, 1981.
Promotional playing cards created by A. M. Cassandre (pseudonym of Adolphe Jean-Marie Mouron, 1901-1968) with abstract, almost surrealist figures and ornamentation, but clearly inspired by medieval art and rendered into an Art Deco style.
Goodall’s “Japanesque” brand was used for stationery products since around 1880 but these playing cards were added to the range in around 1900.
William Kimberley applied for a patent in respect of his improved playing cards in February 1892 and his application was fully accepted that year.
The combination of shapes and colours in these playing cards creates a vibrant and eye-catching surreal effect.
A magnificent example of Goodall & Son’s range of chromolithographed Commemorative playing cards from the late nineteenth century..
Tobacco insert cards were a very successful marketing innovation which started in the nineteenth century.
The theme of steamboats navigating up and down the Mississippi also extended to the cotton plantations alongside the river and to African American people employed therein who were sometimes depicted on the special Joker card.
“Circus No.47”, first issued in 1896. The staid old Kings, Queens and Jacks have given way to various well-known ring masters, clowns and queens; dashing circus designs. Indeed, the clown Jacks are only a short step away from Jokers!
Johann Hieronymus Löschenkohl (1753-1807) produced a copper engraved deck of playing cards titled “Das Musikalische Kartenspiel” in 1806.
B.P. Grimaud of Paris issued this very ornate costume deck called “Jeu Louis XV No.1502” in c.1895. It has been so popular that it has been re-published on numerous occasions and is still available today in modern re-prints or facsimiles.
This beautiful deck features an oval half-tone photo of a theatre star on each card, many of them legendary names, along with their autograph beneath. The border artwork consists of a different coloured floral pattern for each suit. The back has a de...
The court cards and Aces each feature four portraits of famous theatre stars from the 1890s inside round frames, against a background pattern based on traditional court cards.
This beautifully engraved and pleasing deck designed in 1856 has French Kings and consorts as the Kings and Queens, with noble attendants as the Jacks, all dressed in magnificent period costumes.
These cards are from neatly etched plates, and are carefully coloured. The court cards present full-length figures in character costumes.
Dougherty was at the forefront of innovation, adding Best Bowers and then Jokers, rounded corners and various types of indices, or indicators, to his cards.
The Queens, who wear short sleeved dresses with bonnets adorned with chin straps and roses, hold a rose, a fan, a bird or a letter.
The “Smart Set 400” brand with named backs was introduced in c.1906 by the Kalamazoo Playing Card Co. in Michigan. Kalamazoo subsequently merged with the Russell Playing Card Co. in around 1913 or 1914. Thereafter the “Smart Set 400” series continued...
This historical Icelandic deck was first published in c.1930 and shows the native Icelandic Vikings of some thousand years ago rendered in a romantic naturalistic style.
Based upon older ‘standard’ patterns, the Kings and Queens are three-quarter length figures whilst the Jacks are full-length with legs giving the impression that they are walking about!
The deck has Italian indices (A, R, D, F) and was probably produced for the Italian market. The four scenic Aces are double-ended and illustrate buildings relevant to the history of the Medici dynasty.
The suit signs and indices are clear and easily recognisable, and each suit has a different predominant colour. The juxtaposition of traditional craft techniques with abstract modern design could be seen as postmodern.
Zodiac Bridge was designed by René Marcel Rivière and printed by AGM Müller in c.1975. A different sign of the zodiac appears on the clothing of each court card figure.
Another of Dondorf's masterpieces of chromolithography, the detailed artwork on these cards has multiple tints and highlights giving the figures a brilliant, glossy character.
A set of playing cards designed by Julien Lebleu, an original work in the history of Freemasonry. Jeu de cartes conçu par Julien Lebleu, oeuvre originale dans l'histoire de la Franc-maçonnerie.
Hand-drawing ‘Transformation’ playing cards was a popular pastime 200 years ago
A new ‘medieval look’ is intended to suggest the power and virtue of the German character.
This pattern was published between 1889-1933, at first with no Joker, which was added in 1906 along with small indices in German or English.
Boulanger's paintings and graphic art works are easily recognized. The Latin American influence is an integral part of her work. The use of light and contrasting colours are reminiscent of her years spent in La Paz, memories of her native country.
One of a series of sumptuous Venice Simplon-Orient-Express playing cards produced by B.P. Grimaud for the VSOE gift collection. The 3/4 length court cards depict people in Oriental costumes.
The design of the figures is very agile with excellent colour harmony and execution.
The English Playing Card Society's 10th Anniversary Transformation Playing Cards designed and produced by Karl Gerich, 1993.
Éditions Philibert published an outstanding series of exotic, artistic playing cards in Paris from 1954 to 1960
Éditions Philibert published playing cards in Paris from 1954 to 1960 including Le Florentin in Renaissance style.
A few examples of the many interesting back designs.
‘Aquae Sulis’ is Georgina Harvey's second design, in which the double-ended courts are reminiscent of classical gods & goddesses.
Bernhard Altmann is from the “The House of Cashmere” and these playing cards honour their best known commodity: the fleece of the graceful horned Cashmere goat.
Views of Bath is Georgina Harvey's third design, created in 1990. The cards feature beautifully designed double-ended courts and double-ended Aces with a central band which is used to identify different views of the City of Bath at each end.
After the Second World War, the deck continued to be produced both by the VEB Altenburger Spielkartenfabrik as “Rokoko” and by ASS-Spielkartenfabrik, Leinfelden-Echterdingen as “Baronesse”.
Dondorf's 'Four Continents' Patience, c.1910
Stylistically, the deck fits easily into the Dondorf “luxury card” group. The deck was produced for the Danish firm Adolph Wulff of Copenhagen in c.1928-35.
Hwatu (화투) cards originally came about because gambling with four-suited decks was outlawed. This ban prompted the creation of new decks and a new game.
Cosi Fan Tutte was published in 1994 and is based on Mozart's opera. The pips (heart-shaped locket, magnet, marriage contract and poison bottle) are key objects in the development of the operatic plot.
Karl Gerich's interest in playing-card production came to the fore while studying at Bath Academy of Art from 1975. Karl produced a unique range of hand-made playing cards during the period 1980-1998.
Gedimino Stulpai playing cards made in Lithuania by Spindulys Printing Co., Kaunas, depicting Lithuanian national symbolism.
This is a personal account of some of my experiences collecting playing cards.
What was considered the first mention of playing cards in England is in 1463 when Edward IV banned their importation, so they must have been popular by then.
Playing cards commemorating Queen Victoria’s Diamond Jubilee, manufactured by Chas Goodall & Son, 1897.
Naipes Argentinos 'La Partida' y 'Aparcero' published by Obsequios Empresarios Argentinos, Santa Fe
Playing Cards by the Master of the Banderoles, one of the earliest professional printmakers, c.1470
Japanese Flower Cards (Hana Fuda) made by Nintendo, Japan, 2008
Naipes Nacionales designed by Manuel Bayardi and published by Clemente Jacques y Cia, Mexico c.1940
Historical Deck made by Johann Conrad Jegel, Nürnberg, after 1850. Etching by G. Pommer.
Fortune Telling Deck by Industrie Comptoir, Leipzig c.1818.
The luxury playing card factory founded in Frankfurt am Main by Bernhard Dondorf in 1833 existed for 100 years.
Naipes Victoria Spanish-suited, gaucho-themed pack celebrating the culture and traditions of the gauchos.
Naipes Casino Estilo Argentino by Justo Rodero with Gaucho suit symbols: the mate gourd, the sun, "facón" and gaucho club (palo borracho).
Happy Families is probably one of the most popular card games ever invented, with educational benefits relating to sorting and matching of sets, as well as early literacy and elementary genealogy, flowers or bird identification, etc.
Baraja Taurina manufactured by Simeon Durá (Valencia) for Chocolate Angelical, first published in 1916.
These cards may be a typical example of early 'standard' Spanish playing cards, maybe from before Columbus sailed for the 'New World' which were imitated by German engravers who wished to export their wares back to Spain.
Cards from c.1850 by L. P. Holmblad showing fantasy historical Danish Kings and Queens.