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World Bridge

‘World Bridge’ produced by Modiano in Trieste, Italy, since around 1950.

These fanciful designs in Art Nouveau style with oriental flavour were originally created as part of a tarock deck by Argio Orell (1884-1942) as a commission from the Austrian-Lloyd Steamship Line. They were first produced in chromolithography by S. D. Modiano in Trieste, Italy, in c.1910. The cut down 52-card version shown here with large indices and titled ‘World Bridge’ has been published by Modiano since around 1950. The tax stamp on the Ace of Diamonds on this copy is dated 1953. The Queen of Spades holds a cigarette, perhaps because Modiano also manufactured cigarette paper.

‘World Bridge’ produced by Modiano in Trieste, Italy, 1953

Above: ‘World Bridge’ by Modiano, c.1953. This 52-card deck was originally designed as a tarock deck by Italian artist Argio Orell (1884-1942) as a complimetary deck for passengers of a cruise ship line in 1910. The court cards feature people in richly detailed costumes in the exotic taste of the time in which it was created, representative of four cultures: the Orient for Clubs, Spanish for Spades (with a moorish king), Arabian for Hearts and Egyptian for Diamonds. Persia, India and the entire Asian region to far-eastern Japan are represented as part of Austrian-Lloyd Steamship Line's passenger itinerary. The tarock deck was re-printed in 1981. Images courtesy Rex Pitts.

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By Rex Pitts (1940-2021)

Member since January 30, 2009

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Rex's main interest was in card games, because, he said, they were cheap and easy to get hold of in his early days of collecting. He is well known for his extensive knowledge of Pepys games and his book is on the bookshelves of many.

His other interest was non-standard playing cards. He also had collections of sheet music, music CDs, models of London buses, London Transport timetables and maps and other objects that intrigued him.

Rex had a chequered career at school. He was expelled twice, on one occasion for smoking! Despite this he trained as a radio engineer and worked for the BBC in the World Service.

Later he moved into sales and worked for a firm that made all kinds of packaging, a job he enjoyed until his retirement. He became an expert on boxes and would always investigate those that held his cards. He could always recognize a box made for Pepys, which were the same as those of Alf Cooke’s Universal Playing Card Company, who printed the card games. This interest changed into an ability to make and mend boxes, which he did with great dexterity. He loved this kind of handicraft work.

His dexterity of hand and eye soon led to his making card games of his own design. He spent hours and hours carefully cutting them out and colouring them by hand.


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