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Published January 12, 2023 Updated January 12, 2023

Love is a smoke

‘Love is a smoke’ (Classic edition) fantasy playing cards produced by Passione, Italy, 2015.

2015 Italy Passione Marco Guerrieri Fantasy Kickstarter Add to Collection
Love is a smoke (Classic edition) produced by Passione, Italy, 2015

This pack was produced by Passione – a group of designers led by Riccardo Conturbia and Maurizio Toccafondi -- established with the goal of working mainly with Italian artists to link the playing card industry with the talent of Italian creators.

“Love is a Smoke” is illustrated by Marco Guerrieri, and first appeared as a Christmas edition (2014) in a print run of only 100 packs. This slightly revamped classic edition appeared in 2015 and was funded via Kickstarter.

According to the original description on the Kickstarter website, the court cards are intended to take the viewer on a journey “from the twilight of the nineteenth century to the roaring sixties, meeting along the way shady, ambiguous and mysterious characters: dark ladies, gangsters, mariachis, Latin lovers, femmes fatales and young hearted playboys. See the box

  • Hearts - They know everything about love and seduction,
  • Spades - Don't mess with them. Just... don't! It's dangerous and you'd better mind your own business.
  • Clubs - We weren't born in this country, but we managed to get to the top of the food chain thanks to our hard work, dedication and... well... some good friends.
  • Diamonds - have always been wealthy, because we know both what makes the world turn and what makes the life worth living. I'm not sure you can understand: it's not a question of money, it's a question of taste and style."
  • Jokers - War sucks. Damn... I wish I could be at home with my wife. Who knows what will happen tomorrow? Or today - because it's not over yet. Let's light a cigarette, it's probably the safest thing I can do, anyway."

Note: The queens of hearts and spades appear to be duplicated, but on closer inspection they are actually different variants – possibly from the original Christmas edition?

Love is a smoke (Classic edition) produced by Passione, Italy, 2015 Love is a smoke (Classic edition) produced by Passione, Italy, 2015

Above: Love is a smoke (Classic edition) produced by Passione, Italy, 2015.

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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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