The World of Playing Cards Logo

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.

Loriot Rummy

Delightful comical deck designed by Loriot, the German cartoonist and comedian, 1973.

Delightful humourous deck designed by the German cartoonist and comedian Loriot (Vicco von Bülow 1923-2011) and published by ASS in 1973. The topics of Loriot’s cartoons were mainly drawn from everyday life, scenes of the family and middle-class society, often with big noses  Wikipedia

Rommé Loriot, 1973 Rommé Loriot, 1973

Above: cards designed by Loriot and published by ASS in 1973, either as skat or rummy decks.

avatar

By Rex Pitts (1940-2021)

Member since January 30, 2009

View Articles

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.

Recommended

Fortune-Telling Cards

Fortune-Telling Cards

Comic Fortune-Telling Cards published by Reynolds & Sons, c.1850.

Comic Question & Answer cards

Comic Question & Answer cards

Comic Question & Answer cards by Josh. Reynolds & Sons, circa 1850.

Luxus Skatkarte Nr.1134

Luxus Skatkarte Nr.1134

Luxus Skatkarte Nr.1134 printed by Brepols for Germany, c.1940s.

Black Peter

Black Peter

Black Peter card game designed by Willy Mayrl for Piatnik.

Pato Donald

Pato Donald

Donald Duck card game © Walt Disney Productions, by Naipes Fournier, 1984.

Werbung die Sticht

Werbung die Sticht

“Werbung die Sticht” deck with artwork by Fritz Bünzli to promote advertising on playing cards by AG Müller 1982.

Baracca & Burattini

Baracca & Burattini

Baracca & Burattini puppetry deck printed by Dal Negro, 1998.

Crikey!

Crikey!

Crikey! Classic British Comics playing cards published by Bird Playing Cards, 2013.

Forfeits

Forfeits

Forfeits party card game by Merit Games, J & L Randall Ltd, c.1950.

Inspector Gadget

Inspector Gadget

The Adventures of Inspector Gadget quartet game published by Fournier in 1983.

Periquito y Tontín Dominoes

Periquito y Tontín Dominoes

Periquito y Tontín Dominoes, featuring Feliz and Bonzo, 1920s.

Pranks & Mimics for the Party

Pranks & Mimics for the Party

Pranks & Mimics for the Party, 1950s.

Christmas Playing Cards

Christmas Playing Cards

Christmas Playing Cards published by Novelty Playing Cards, Syracuse, New York, 1986.

Loriot Rummy

Loriot Rummy

Delightful comical deck designed by Loriot, the German cartoonist and comedian, 1973.

Hamm’s Beer

Hamm’s Beer

Hamm’s Beer promotion deck with bear cartoons by Frank M. Antoncich 1968.

Stationskwartetspel

Stationskwartetspel

Railway Stations quartet game illustrated by Wim Dolk and published by Servex BV, Utrecht, 1975.

Hungarian Drinking Skat

Hungarian Drinking Skat

Hungarian Drinking Skat, c.2004.

One Penny Games

One Penny Games

One Penny Card Games, 1920s.

One Penny Games 2

One Penny Games 2

One Penny Card Games, 1900-1910, mostly anonymous 'Snap' games and made in Germany.

Ups & Downs

Ups & Downs

Ups and Downs humorous card game published in UK by A. N. Myers, c.1885.

Inspector

Inspector

Inspector card game published by W F Jackson & Sons, 1940s.

Biff! Bang!! Wallop!!!

Biff! Bang!! Wallop!!!

Biff! Bang!! Wallop!!! family card game published by H.P. Gibson & Sons Ltd, 1939.

Capilettor

Capilettor

Capilettor cartoon playing cards published by VASS, Leinfelden, 1978.

Who’s Who

Who’s Who

Who’s Who or Food for Thought, a wartime card game, c.1939.

101 Dalmatas

101 Dalmatas

101 Dalmatas by Naipes Fournier, 1995,

Schwarzer Peter mit Hundebildern

Schwarzer Peter mit Hundebildern

Humorous dog-themed Black Peter game illustrated by Willy Mayrl, c.1960.

Klutz Card Deck

Klutz Card Deck

Klutz Card Deck with comic courts.

Bicycle Emotions

Bicycle Emotions

Bicycle Emotions playing cards with custom emotions on the courts to help you bluff at cards, 2013.

Flintstones Happy Families

Flintstones Happy Families

Flintstones Happy Families by J. W. Spear and Sons, c.1960.

Hand Drawn Joker Pack

Hand Drawn Joker Pack

Pack of 52 hand-drawn Jokers.

Gundlach Skat No.100

Gundlach Skat No.100

Skat No.100 by E. Gundlach, Bielefeld, 1949.

Neues Frag˗ und Antwortspiel

Neues Frag˗ und Antwortspiel

Neues Frag- und Antwortspiel (new question and answer game) from Germany.

Cat Chaos

Cat Chaos

‘Cat Chaos Celebrity Edition’ card game by Ginger Fox Ltd., 2017.

Chicken Playing Cards

Chicken Playing Cards

Chicken Playing Cards designed by Susan Krupp, 2017.

Happy Families

Happy Families

Happy Families by Norvic Mill, c.1920s.

Punch & Judy

Punch & Judy

Punch and Judy card game published by Pepys, 1956.

Shuffled Symphonies

Shuffled Symphonies

Shuffled Symphonies published by Pepys Games in association with Walt Disney, 1939.

Naipes Parliament por Caloi

Naipes Parliament por Caloi

Carlos Loiseau, better known as ‘Caloi’, was a cartoonist whose designs for Parliament Cigarettes were first published in the early 1970s.

World Leaders Snap

World Leaders Snap

World Leaders Snap published around WW2, c.1940.

Mickey’s Fun Fair

Mickey’s Fun Fair

Mickey’s Fun Fair published by Pepys Games in collaboration with Walt Disney, 1939.