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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.

Geschichte des Buchgewerbes

Geschichte des Buchgewerbes illustrated by Ludwig Winkler, published by Verlag für Lehrmittel Pößneck.

Geschichte des Buchgewerbes by Verlag für Lehrmittel Pößneck, c.1989

Geschichte des Buchgewerbes (History of the book trade) educational quartet game published by Verlag für Lehrmittel Pößneck. The illustrations, by Ludwig Winkler, are in sets of four showing the development of the book trade from the creation of writing to the gravure printing process. See the information cards

Geschichte des Buchgewerbes illustrated by Ludwig Winkler, published by Verlag für Lehrmittel Pößneck Geschichte des Buchgewerbes illustrated by Ludwig Winkler, published by Verlag für Lehrmittel Pößneck Geschichte des Buchgewerbes illustrated by Ludwig Winkler, published by Verlag für Lehrmittel Pößneck Geschichte des Buchgewerbes illustrated by Ludwig Winkler, published by Verlag für Lehrmittel Pößneck
Geschichte des Buchgewerbes by Verlag für Lehrmittel Pößneck, c.1989

Above: Geschichte des Buchgewerbes quartet game published by Verlag für Lehrmittel Pößneck, manufatured by Altenburger Spielkartenfabrik, c.1989. The illustrations convey information about the invention of the art of printing, the original graphic arts, typesetting, reproduction techniques, printing processes (letterpress, flat printing, gravure) and bookbinding. The card backs are decorated with pink fleurons (also known as printer's flowers). 32 cards + 4 information cards in box.

Verlag für Lehrmittel Pößneck was founded in 1947 and produces a range of teaching aids.

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By Rex Pitts (1940-2021)

Member since January 30, 2009

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Rex's main interest was in card games, because, he said, they were cheap and easy to get hold of in his early days of collecting. He is well known for his extensive knowledge of Pepys games and his book is on the bookshelves of many.

His other interest was non-standard playing cards. He also had collections of sheet music, music CDs, models of London buses, London Transport timetables and maps and other objects that intrigued him.

Rex had a chequered career at school. He was expelled twice, on one occasion for smoking! Despite this he trained as a radio engineer and worked for the BBC in the World Service.

Later he moved into sales and worked for a firm that made all kinds of packaging, a job he enjoyed until his retirement. He became an expert on boxes and would always investigate those that held his cards. He could always recognize a box made for Pepys, which were the same as those of Alf Cooke’s Universal Playing Card Company, who printed the card games. This interest changed into an ability to make and mend boxes, which he did with great dexterity. He loved this kind of handicraft work.

His dexterity of hand and eye soon led to his making card games of his own design. He spent hours and hours carefully cutting them out and colouring them by hand.

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