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Published March 07, 2023 Updated March 07, 2023

Game Over

‘Game Over’ political playing cards from Israel, 2006.

2006 Israel Military Most Wanted Political Wartime Add to Collection

This offering from Israel presents two packs of identical cards. The first is titled “Most Wanted” and the second “Eliminated”. Both packs display the same photos of individuals deemed by Israel to be leaders of terrorist organisations in the Middle East. Those whose photo is not publicly available are represented by sample illustration pictures. However, the second pack displays the same photos with one major difference: those that have been killed are stamped with the word “Eliminated”. The two jokers are Saddam Hussein and Yasser Arafat. Somewhat ironically, the extra card informs users that the cards are “intended for gaming purposes only and do not in any way reflect a political opinion or stand”. See the boxes

‘Game Over’ playing cards from Israel, 2006 ‘Game Over’ playing cards from Israel, 2006 ‘Game Over’ playing cards from Israel, 2006

Above: ‘Game Over’ playing cards from Israel, 2006.

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By Peter Burnett

Member since July 27, 2022

I graduated in Russian and East European Studies from Birmingham University in 1969. It was as an undergraduate in Moscow in 1968 that I stumbled upon my first 3 packs of “unusual” playing cards which fired my curiosity and thence my life-long interest. I began researching and collecting cards in the early 1970s, since when I’ve acquired over 3,330 packs of non-standard cards, mainly from North America, UK and Western Europe, and of course from Russia and the former communist countries.

Russian Playing Cards

Following my retirement from the Bodleian Library in Dec. 2007 I took up a new role as Head of Library Development at the International Network for the Availability of Scientific Publications (INASP) to support library development in low-income countries. This work necessitated regular training visits to many sub-Saharan African countries and also further afield, to Vietnam, Nepal and Bangladesh – all of which provided rich opportunities to further expand my playing card collection.

Since 2019 I’ve been working part-time in the Bodleian Library where I’ve been cataloguing the bequest of the late Donald Welsh, founder of the English Playing Card Society.


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