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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.

Folklore

“Folklore” by Altenburger Spielkarten Fabrik, c.1982

“Folklore” by Altenburger Spielkarten Fabrik, c.1982

This attractive “Folklore” deck was designed by Eva & Gottfried Bormann and manufactured by VEB Altenburger Spielkarten Fabrik (‘Cœur’), first published in 1968, this edition c.1982. After German reunification in 1991, the Altenburger Spielkarten Fabrik was privatized and then sold to F.X. Schmid. In 2002 Carta Mundi acquired the Altenburg playing card factory.

“Folklore” deck designed by Eva & Gottfried Bormann manufactured by Altenburger Spielkarten Fabrik (Germany) first published in 1968

Above: “Folklore” deck designed by Eva & Gottfried Bormann manufactured by Altenburger Spielkarten Fabrik (Germany) first published in 1968. The ‘Cœur’ logo can be seen on the 10 of clubs. Images courtesy Matt Probert.

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By Matt Probert

Member since March 02, 2012

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I have adored playing cards since before I was seven years old, and was brought up on packs of Waddington's No 1. As a child I was fascinated by the pictures of the court cards.

Over the next fifty years I was seduced by the artwork in Piatnik's packs and became a collector of playing cards.

Seeking more information about various unidentified packs I discovered the World of Playing Cards website and became an enthusiastic contributor researching and documenting different packs of cards.

I describe my self as a playing card archaeologist, using detective work to identify and date obscure packs of cards discovered in old houses, flea markets and car boot sales.

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