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Published December 08, 2022 Updated December 08, 2022

La Cour Galante

‘La Cour Galante’ playing cards with erotic images by Costante Costantini, Italy, 1979.

1979 Italy Solleone Costante Costantini Erotic Fantasy Humour Woodblock Add to Collection

Published by Editions du Soleil-Lion (Solleone) in Milan, 1979, this pack presents humorous and mildly erotic figures in the style of wood-engravings by Costante Costantini (an artist born in Florence in 1921). It was produced in a limited edition of 2000 packs, and contains 52 cards plus 2 jokers and an information card. There are no corner indices. The cards measure 63 x 96 mm. and are wrapped in green card which depicts the sun above an image of a lion (Solleone). See the box

The information card and the box both include “Editions du Soleil-Lion Ari’ et Terry”, a reference to Vito Arienti and Terry Humphreys (see here).

‘La Cour Galante’ playing cards by Costante Costantini published by Editions du Soleil-Lion (Solleone), Milan, 1979 ‘La Cour Galante’ playing cards by Costante Costantini published by Editions du Soleil-Lion (Solleone), Milan, 1979 ‘La Cour Galante’ playing cards by Costante Costantini published by Editions du Soleil-Lion (Solleone), Milan, 1979

Above: ‘La Cour Galante’ playing cards by Costante Costantini published by Editions du Soleil-Lion (Solleone), Milan, 1979.

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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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