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Published April 13, 2012 Updated December 29, 2022

Hong Kong

A large proportion of the world's souvenir and pin-up playing cards originate from Hong Kong.

China Hong Kong Windmill Playing Card Co Add to Collection

Playing Cards from Hong Kong

Traditional Chinese Playing Cards

It might be fair to say that more people in this world play with Chinese cards than any other type. The Chinese took their own cards with them wherever they traded or travelled in the East and we find Chinese cards not only on the mainland but also in Hong Kong, Malaysia, Indonesia, Taiwan, Thailand, Singapore, North Borneo and Vietnam.

Chinese Domino playing cards imported into Hong Kong

Above: Chinese 'Domino Cards' imported into Hong Kong containing small traditional symbols emblematic of the blessings of life. Domino cards, deriving as they do from the 21 throws of a pair of dice, could be descended from the earliest known playing cards.   See also: Double Happiness Domino Cards   Double Elephant brand Four Colour cards.

Chinese Mahjong cards

Above: modern Chinese KR brand Mahjong cards with geometric pattern on the back, manufactured by Qingyuan Wan Qi Poker Products Co., Ltd. and also marketed through their partner company in Hong Kong   See also: Malaysian Mahjongg Cards

Souvenir Playing Cards

A large proportion of the world’s souvenir playing cards originate from Hong Kong, many manufactured by the Windmill Playing Card Co. For example, see: Puerto Rico, Dominican Republic.

Hong Kong Souvenir playing cards, photography by Edmond Chan

Above: Hong Kong Souvenir playing cards produced in Hong Kong by EDC Distribution Ltd.   see more →

Children’s Playing Cards

Above: miniature ‘Happy Families’ set, 40 cards, ‘Emu’ brand, made in Hong Kong.

Left: 'Mini-Poker' miniature cartoon character playing cards made in China, based on comics and computer games. Purchased in Hong Kong, price: HK$21.00.   see more →

See also: Naipe BrisciaOriana Shipping cards

Vintage Pin-up Playing Cards

A large number of pin-up playing cards originate from Hong Kong, such as GAIETY 54 Models Adult Playing Cards etc.

Chinese pin-up playing cards

Above: aimed at English-speaking audiences, the left-hand set shown above is called ‘Honey Brand Superior Quality Excellent Universal Models Colour Pictures’ and contains 52 cards + 2 Jokers. The right-hand set is called ‘Fortune Brand’ and purports to depict “52 art studies representing outstanding types of beauty. As sparkling and refreshing as a mountain stream, each subject is the result of painstaking research... acclaimed as TRULY works of art by connoisseurs the world over”. Produced in Hong Kong.

Street Sellers

Above: street market selling Chinese manufactured playing cards in Hong Kong, 2014. Cards are available of every description including Osama Bin Laden, Steve Jobs, Madonna, Titanic, Superman, Batman, President Putin, President Obama, girl pin-ups, Chinese bank notes, etc. Photo by Adam Wintle.

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By Simon Wintle

Member since February 01, 1996

Founder and editor of the World of Playing Cards since 1996. He is a former committee member of the IPCS and was graphics editor of The Playing-Card journal for many years. He has lived at various times in Chile, England and Wales and is currently living in Extremadura, Spain. Simon's first limited edition pack of playing cards was a replica of a seventeenth century traditional English pack, which he produced from woodblocks and stencils.

1 comments

Graham Clayton's Avatar'

That Gaiety set brought back some memories - I'll admit to having a pack in high school when I was about 13 or 14 LOL. Although the cards were printed, I presume the models were photographed elsewhere? Do any names exist for any of the Gaiety modells?


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