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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.

Unknown Publisher

Playing Cards by Unknown Publisher, Georgia (Russia) 1920s.

Georgia (Russia)

Deck of Playing Cards from Georgia, unknown publisher, c.1920.

Above: cards from pack of playing cards from Georgia, unknown publisher, c.1920. From the index numbers we can tell that the complete pack had 52 cards. Images courtesy Albinas Borisevičius.


By Simon Wintle

Member since February 01, 1996

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Curator and editor of the World of Playing Cards since 1996.