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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.

Wüst Spanish pattern

Wüst Spanish pattern c.1910 advertising Cuban ‘Tropical’ beer.

Wüst Spanish Cadiz pattern deck for export to Cuba c.1910-1920, advertising ‘Tropical’ beer. The Wüst star can be found on the Ace of coins, but the maker’s name is otherwise only to be found on the box. None of the court figures wears a moustache. Earlier editions of this pattern were produced by Wüst since the late 19th century with legends on several cards and sometimes with the Wüst star on the Jack of swords.

Wüst Spanish pattern deck for export to Cuba c.1910-1920, advertising ‘Tropical’ beer

Above: Wüst Spanish Cadiz pattern deck for export to Cuba c.1910, advertising ‘Tropical’ beer. 40 cards.

Later Edition, c.1920

A later edition of the same deck but with rounded corners was printed from different lithographic stones. Some difference can be seen in the design on the coins and cups. These Spanish Cadiz pattern designs were also used in 1952 by Müller & Cie, Schaffhausen

Wüst Spanish pattern deck for export to Cuba c.1920, advertising ‘Tropical’ beer

Above: later edition of the same Wüst Spanish pattern deck for export to Cuba, but with rounded corners and from different lithographic stones. c.1920. 48 cards. All above images courtesy Paul Symons.

Earlier Edition, c.1880

cards from “La Amistad” deck produced by Wüst for J. B. David in Cadiz, Spain, c.1880

Above: cards from Spanish Cadiz pattern deck produced by Wüst for J. B. David in Cadiz, Spain, who owned the brand name “La Amistad”, c.1880. Image courtesy Alberto Pérez González. See the wrapper

REFERENCES

Shaw, Martin & Symons, Paul: Playing cards from the factory C.L.Wüst, Frankfurt, Germany (1811-1927), Catalogue of the exhibition held at the Nationaal Museum van de Speelkaart, Turnhout, Belgium, 23 September-31 December 2005. See page 44.

Additional research by Alberto Pérez González.

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By Paul Symons

Member since February 01, 2016

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I'm British but I have now lived in the Netherlands for 50 years and have enjoyed every minute of it. I started collecting playing cards in the early 1980’s after speaking with my neighbour who was at that time a croupier in a casino. I started with just collecting jokers, but that soon led me to complete packs of cards and eventually to specialising in old and antique playing cards, particularly those of C.L. Wüst of Frankfurt, Germany. I am presently the Dutch representative of the I.P.C.S. and the auctioneer at the IPCS conventions.

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Wüst Spanish pattern

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Wüst Spanish pattern c.1910 advertising Cuban ‘Tropical’ beer.

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