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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.

Le Florentin

Éditions Philibert published playing cards in Paris from 1954 to 1960 including Le Florentin in Renaissance style.

‘Le Florentin’ luxury playing cards with miniature paintings by Paul-Émile Bécat, published by Éditions Philibert, Paris, 1956

Éditions Philibert published playing cards in Paris from 1954 to 1960. Paul-Émile Bécat produced the rich, Renaissance-style paintings that make this deck so extraordinary. It is probably the best known of the Philibert decks on account of the slightly risqué artwork. Their luxurious sensuality and tender intimacy have rarely been surpassed in any other playing cards and leave the viewer breathless and blushing.   See also: Mémoires de Casanova

Le Florentin luxury playing cards with miniature paintings by Paul-Émile Bécat, published by Éditions Philibert, Paris, 1956

Above: 'Le Florentin' luxury playing cards with miniature paintings by Paul-Émile Bécat, published by Éditions Philibert, Paris, 1956. Images courtesy Barney Townshend.

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By Barney Townshend

Member since October 06, 2015

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Retired Airline Pilot, interested in: Transformation Playing Cards, Karl Gerich and Elaine Lewis. Secretary of the EPCS. Treasurer of the IPCS.

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Éditions Philibert

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Éditions Philibert published an outstanding series of exotic, artistic playing cards in Paris from 1954 to 1960

Le Florentin

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Éditions Philibert published playing cards in Paris from 1954 to 1960 including Le Florentin in Renaissance style.

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