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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.

Mordillo Skat

Mordillo Skat designed by Guillermo Mordillo, c.1979

Mordillo Skat designed by Argentinean illustrator and cartoonist Guillermo Mordillo, c1975.

Mordillo Skat designed by Argentinean illustrator and cartoonist Guillermo Mordillo

Above: Mordillo Skat designed by Guillermo Mordillo, published in various editions; VASS c.1979 & F.X.Schmid for Heye Verlag München, 1983, etc.

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By Simon Wintle

Member since February 01, 1996

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

Recommended

Luxus Skatkarte Nr.1134

Luxus Skatkarte Nr.1134

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

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.

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.

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.

Hungarian Drinking Skat

Hungarian Drinking Skat

Hungarian Drinking Skat, c.2004.

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.

Flintstones Happy Families

Flintstones Happy Families

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

Gundlach Skat No.100

Gundlach Skat No.100

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

Happy Families

Happy Families

Happy Families by Norvic Mill, c.1920s.

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.

Mickey’s Fun Fair

Mickey’s Fun Fair

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

Leipzig Exhibition Skat, 1897

Leipzig Exhibition Skat, 1897

“Leipziger Skat-Karte” depicting scenes from the Leipzig Industry and Trade Exhibition designed by Arthur Lewin, 1897.

Gulliver’s Travels

Gulliver’s Travels

Gulliver’s Travels by Pepys Games, based on the cartoon film, 1940.

No.4 Special Whist

No.4 Special Whist

No.4 Special Whist (American Skat) playing cards made by the Russell & Morgan Printing Company, 1889.

Mordillo Skat

Mordillo Skat

Mordillo Skat designed by Guillermo Mordillo, c.1979

Boerenbond Veevoeders

Boerenbond Veevoeders

Promotional deck designed by Ray Goossens for the Boerenbond farmers’ union, c.1968.

Löwen Entertainment

Löwen Entertainment

Skat deck for Löwen Entertainment, producers of electronic gaming machines, 1986

Altenburger Bauerntrachten

Altenburger Bauerntrachten

“Altenburger Bauerntrachten” commemorating 150 years of playing cards from Altenburg, designed by Andreas Wachter, 1982.

Geprüfte Sicherheit

Geprüfte Sicherheit

Federal Institute for Occupational Safety and Accident Research, 1978

Butagaz

Butagaz

“Butagaz” playing cards for the French gas company, c.1976

Michelin Tyres, c.1970

Michelin Tyres, c.1970

Michelin Tyres by Waddingtons, c.1970.

Micky Mau~Mau

Micky Mau~Mau

Micky Mau~Mau by F. X. Schmid, 1978.

Farmyard Cries

Farmyard Cries

Farmyard Cries card game, designed by Racey Helps and published by Pepys Games, 1952.

Naipes Garaycochea

Naipes Garaycochea

Humorous playing cards designed by Carlos Garaycochea, Buenos Aires, c.2002.

Angler Skat

Angler Skat

Angler Skat manufactured by VEB Altenburg, c.1981

Hunting Themed Skat

Hunting Themed Skat

German-suited hunting themed deck designed by Günter Schmitz and made by VEB Altenburg, 1980.

Mundialito de Radiolandia 2000

Mundialito de Radiolandia 2000

‘Mundialito’ toy football playing cards published inside the magazine ‘Radiolandia 2000’, Argentina, 1978.

Fred Basset

Fred Basset

Fred Basset card game published by Pepys in 1977 based on the cartoon strip by Alex Graham.

Astérix

Astérix

Cartes à Jouer ‘Astérix’ published by Ducale, 1987.

Skat Politisch

Skat Politisch

Political “Skat Politisch” published by ASS, 1976

Skat Express

Skat Express

One end Berlin pattern the other standard English pattern

Playing Cards designed by Alvaros

Playing Cards designed by Alvaros

Playing Cards designed by Alvaros, published by Eduardo Carrión, Montevideo, 2000

Alice

Alice

Alice card game published by Pepys in 1952, based on the Walt Disney film “Alice in Wonderland”.

Dumbo

Dumbo

Walt Disney’s Dumbo card game published by Pepys, 1939.