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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.

Kinder-Karte

First published in c.1870, children are presented in these miniature Patience cards disguised as Kings, Queens and Jacks. The Kings' crowns are slightly over-sized for their heads and the children are wearing false beards.

Dondorf: ‘Kinder-Karte’ ~ Patience No.25

Dondorf first published these miniature Patience cards in c.1870, in which children are disguised as Kings, Queens and Jacks. The Kings' crowns are slightly over-sized for their heads and the boys are wearing false beards and moustaches. The children on the Queens and Jacks have large, clear eyes and round cheeks with dimples. Holding flowers, pets or dolls, they evoke a charming children's world. However, the cards were probably destined for an adult market too.

Above: Kinder-Karte (Patience No.25), manufactured by Dondorf GmBH after 1906. 52 cards; cards measure 55mm x 37mm. Images courtesy Barney Townshend.

See also: Piatnik Rococco Mini-PatienceDondorf Spanish PackDondorf Four Continents, c.1870Dondorf Tarot Microscopique, c.1870Dondorf Whist No.192 / Shakespeare-SpielkarteDondorf Whist No.151 / Portuguese German-style deckDondorf Lenormand Cards for H.P. Gibson, LondonDondorf Poker No.140Dondorf English packDondorf patience book

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By Barney Townshend

Member since October 06, 2015

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Retired Airline Pilot, interested in: Transformation Playing Cards, Karl Gerich and Elaine Lewis. Secretary of the EPCS. Treasurer of the IPCS.

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