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Playing cards have been with us since the 14th century, when they first entered popular culture. Over the centuries packs of cards, in all shapes and sizes, have been used for games, gambling, education, conjuring, advertising, fortune telling, political messages or the portrayal of national or ethnic identity. All over the world, whatever language is spoken, their significance is universal. Their popularity is also due to the imaginative artwork and graphic design which is sometimes overlooked, and the “then & now” of how things have changed.

Sardinian playing cards

Sardinian playing cards.

Sardinian playing cards manufactured by Balzan Edizione, Sardinia. The cards show Sardinian national dress and cultural objects. Italian style suit symbols.

Sardinian playing cards
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By Simon Wintle

Member since February 01, 1996

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Curator and editor of the World of Playing Cards since 1996.

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Sarde Pattern

Sarde Pattern

Sarde pattern published by Modiano, c.1975, based on early XIX century Spanish model.

José Martínez de Castro, page 2

José Martínez de Castro, page 2

The most noteworthy feature of its history is that this design has since been adopted for use in Sardinia, where it is now regarded as the standard local pattern.b

Sardinian playing cards

Sardinian playing cards

Sardinian playing cards.