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Published December 07, 2022 Updated December 07, 2022

Centenario Nascita Benito Mussolini

Playing cards to commemorate the centenary of Benito Mussolini's birth, Italy, c.1983.

1983 Italy Edizone Il Meneghello Commemorative Political Add to Collection
playing cards to commemorate the centenary of Benito Mussolini's birth by Edizione Il Meneghello, Italy, c.1983

Published in 1983 in a limited edition of 1200 packs by Edizione Il Meneghello to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the birth of Benito Mussolini. Having assumed dictatorial power in 1922 he governed the country for twenty years, until the alliance with Hitler's Germany and the defeat in the Second World War. He was shot in April 1945.

The cards are wrapped in a striped red, white and green paper (the Italian national colours), and are contained by a decorated cardboard cover that is tied at the side with a ribbon in the same colours. See the box

This French suited pack contains 40 cards (Ace through 7, Jacks, Queens, Kings), plus 3 insert cards, one of which announces the deck and two of which appear to quote Mussolini's words. There is also a card that confirms the number of this set within the limited edition. The Aces and Kings show Mussolini, and the remaining cards depict symbols of his life history. The faces of the cards in all 4 suits are the same. The backs are black with a Mussolini signature in white written across. The cards are square cornered and measure 10cm x 6cm.

playing cards to commemorate the centenary of Benito Mussolini's birth by Edizione Il Meneghello, Italy, c.1983 playing cards to commemorate the centenary of Benito Mussolini's birth by Edizione Il Meneghello, Italy, c.1983

Above: playing cards to commemorate the centenary of Benito Mussolini's birth by Edizione Il Meneghello, Italy, c.1983. 40 cards, limited edition of 1200 packs.

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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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