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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.

Victory Deck

Victory deck commemorating the Liberation war by Friedrich Gotthelf Baumgärtner, Leipzig, 1815.

“Victory” deck by Friedrich Gotthelf Baumgärtner, Leipzig, 1815

“Victory deck” commemorating the Liberation war by Friedrich Gotthelf Baumgärtner, Leipzig, 1815. Copper engraved, hand coloured by stencil, 36 cards. Baumgärtner was the owner of the Industrie Comptoir in Leipzig.

See also:   Bergmannskarte, c.1816   Cartomancy Deck, c.1818   Anonymous Anti-Napoleon Deck, c.1815.

Victory deck by Friedrich Gotthelf Baumgärtner, Leipzig, 1815

Above: “Victory” deck commemorating the Liberation war by Friedrich Gotthelf Baumgärtner, Leipzig, 1815.   From the collection of Klaus-Jürgen Schultz (https://spielkarten-sammlung.de).

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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.

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