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Published February 10, 2024 Updated February 10, 2024

Marcello Morandini

Modern designs by Italian artist Marcello Morandini using the simplest of forms and colours.

1973 Italy Peter Pfeiffer Plastic Cards Marcello Morandini Abstract Art & Design Suits Add to Collection

What are the essential elements required in a pack of 52 cards? Four suits of 13 cards, each readily identifiable? Yes. Suits of hearts, diamonds, clubs and spades? Not necessarily. Two red suits and two black suits? Not necessarily. Indices? Not necessarily. Strip away the non-essential elements and what are you left with? Four suits, each in a different colour (red, blue, green and yellow), with an appropriate number of lines or bars representing each numeral card, and no indices in the corners. For the King, Queen and Jack, a square, two large rectangles, and three slightly smaller rectangles, respectively. For the Joker(s), a simple circle.

That it is exactly what you will find in this pack designed by Italian artist Marcello Morandini (b. 1940). Morandini’s visual style involves assembling repetitive simple forms, as here. For him, form is more important than superficial aesthetics. Morandini began working as a graphic artist, later becoming an architect and sculptor.

plastic cards with modern designs by Marcello Morandini, made by Plastic Cards, Milan, Italy, 197 plastic cards with modern designs by Marcello Morandini, made by Plastic Cards, Milan, Italy, 197 plastic cards with modern designs by Marcello Morandini, made by Plastic Cards, Milan, Italy, 197 plastic cards with modern designs by Marcello Morandini, made by Plastic Cards, Milan, Italy, 197

Above: plastic cards with modern abstract designs by Marcello Morandini. Published by Peter Pfeiffer, Milan, Italy. Printed by Plastic Cards, Milan, Italy, 1973. 52 cards + 2 Jokers in tuck box. Size: 60 x 100 mm.

The cards themselves are all plastic. The first edition appeared in 1973 in a numbered edition of 1,000 packs. See the box

Note: I have two of these packs in my collection. In one, the Jokers are red and blue; in the other, they are green and yellow. The capital ‘M’s on Morandini's signature (on the box) have also been simplified into straight lines.

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By Roddy Somerville

Member since May 31, 2022

Roddy started collecting stamps on his 8th birthday. In 1977 he joined the newly formed playing-card department at Stanley Gibbons in London before setting up his own business in Edinburgh four years later. His collecting interests include playing cards, postcards, stamps (especially playing cards on stamps) and sugar wrappers. He is a Past President of the Scottish Philatelic Society, a former Chairman of the IPCS, a Past Master of the Worshipful Company of Makers of Playing Cards and Curator of the WCMPC’s collection of playing cards. He lives near Toulouse in France.


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