The World of Playing Cards Logo

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.

Ridley’s Magic Trick Cards

Ridley’s Magic Trick Cards, 2011.

Ridley’s Magic Trick Cards, a modern Svengali pack published by Wild and Wolf Ltd under the brand “Ridley’s Magic”, 2011. The pack is a standard Svengali pack, with the 9 of hearts repeated throughout, two jokers, a reduced number of ordinary cards (hence the reduced number of court cards), and instruction cards.

Ridley’s Magic Trick Cards, 2011 Ridley’s Magic Trick Cards, 2011

Above: Ridley’s Magic Trick Cards, 2011. The cards, printed in four colours, are made in China.

avatar

By Matt Probert

Member since March 02, 2012

View Articles

I have adored playing cards since before I was seven years old, and was brought up on packs of Waddington's No 1. As a child I was fascinated by the pictures of the court cards.

Over the next fifty years I was seduced by the artwork in Piatnik's packs and became a collector of playing cards.

Seeking more information about various unidentified packs I discovered the World of Playing Cards website and became an enthusiastic contributor researching and documenting different packs of cards.

I describe my self as a playing card archaeologist, using detective work to identify and date obscure packs of cards discovered in old houses, flea markets and car boot sales.

Recommended

Martin Mystère

Martin Mystère

Martin Mystère based on the comic book by Alfredo Castelli. The cards were designed by Giancarlo Alessandrini.

Conjuring Decks

Conjuring Decks

Conjuring Decks by Universal Playing Card Co (Alf Cooke) and others...

De Land’s Nifty playing cards

De Land’s Nifty playing cards

De Land’s Nifty playing cards published by S. S. Adams Co, c.1930.

Catalogue of Magic Card Tricks

Catalogue of Magic Card Tricks

Gamagic Catalogue of Magic Card Tricks, c.1940. Everyone is familiar with playing cards, which makes them a ready medium for magical performance.

Stancraft “Split Deck”

Stancraft “Split Deck”

Stancraft “Split Deck”, 1979.

Magic Poker Cards

Magic Poker Cards

“Magic Poker Cards” are often found inside Christmas crackers along with party hats, puzzles and jokes...

Secret Magic Cards

Secret Magic Cards

‘Secret Magic Cards’ published by Hanky Panky Toys Thailand Ltd., © World Magic International, 2006.

Ridley’s Magic Trick Cards

Ridley’s Magic Trick Cards

Ridley’s Magic Trick Cards, 2011.

Mad Jack Miracle Pack

Mad Jack Miracle Pack

Mad Jack Miracle Pack by Chu’s Magic (Tobar) 1999.

Serpentine

Serpentine

‘Serpentine’ Playing Cards published by Legends P.C.Co., 2014.

The Cardini Playing Cards

The Cardini Playing Cards

Richard Valentine Pitchford, better known as Cardini, is one of that select band of performers who became legends during their own lifetimes

Legends Playing Cards

Legends Playing Cards

Legends Playing Card Company (founded 2013) aspires to print the highest quality playing cards and packaging in the world.

Dragon Fanning Deck

Dragon Fanning Deck

This set of cards published by DP Group Ltd (Japan) allows the performer to create different fans

Conjuring and Magic

Conjuring and Magic

The art of mystifying people is very old indeed. The first conjurers were priests who obtained power over simple minds by performing magical tricks which appeared to have a supernatural origin.

Portuguese Conjuring Playing Cards

Portuguese Conjuring Playing Cards

Portuguese Conjuring Playing Cards, c.1850.