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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.

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303 Articles

Matt Probert

Member since March 02, 2012

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.

The latest articles from Matt Probert

Diaoyu Poker 8068

8068 by Diaoyu Poker (China) 2019. • Feb 16, 2021

Crocheter’s Playing Cards

Crocheter’s playing cards sent to subscribers of the Crochet Society box, 2021. • Jan 31, 2021

Gulliver’s Travels

Gulliver’s Travels card game no.293 published by Piatnik, c.1950. • Jan 12, 2021

Greenpeace

Campaign deck for Greenpeace with drawings of penguins, seals, whales and dolphins. • Jun 10, 2020

My Word

My Word “The last word in card games” designed by Michael Kindred and Malcolm Smith, published in 1980 by Waddingtons. • Jun 09, 2020

Qantas

Qantas Airways Limited is the flag carrier of Australia and is the world's third-oldest airline still in operation, having been founded in November 1920. • Jun 08, 2020

A Case Study

Case Study: using detective work to identify and date a pack discovered in charity shop. • Jun 07, 2020

Leather Card Case Patent Application

In 1932, a patent was granted to Colin Hart and George Franklin for a leather case in the form of a book cover for playing cards. • Jun 06, 2020

Bicycle Steampunk

Bicycle Steampunk playing cards with Gothic artwork by Anne Stokes, 2015. • Feb 11, 2020

World of Harry Potter

World of Harry Potter playing cards produced by Winning Moves under Waddingtons Number 1 brand, 2019. • Jan 18, 2020

Final Fantasy VII

Final Fantasy VII is a role-playing video game. • Jan 12, 2020

Casais Portugueses

Matching game by Majora, Lisbon, c.1970, featuring figures in national dress from Portuguese provinces and colonies • Dec 12, 2019

Carousel Playing Cards

Carousel Playing Cards commissioned by Tesco stores, 2019. • Dec 04, 2019

Bicycle Knights

Bicycle Knights playing cards designed by Sam Hayles in 2018. • Nov 20, 2019

Period Pieces

National Trust Period Pieces Antiques Game produced in 1976 by Dinosaur Publications. • Nov 12, 2019

Crown the Queen

Crown the Queen card game invented by Elaine Burton, c.1953. • Oct 08, 2019

Souvenir from Zakynthos

Souvenir from Zakynthos by Euro Card. • Sep 25, 2019

Gods of Egypt

Gods of Egypt playing cards dedicated to the culture of Ancient Egypt. • Sep 25, 2019

Bicycle 808 Bourbon

Bicycle 808 Bourbon themed deck by US Playing Card Company 2017. • Sep 24, 2019

National Geographic Nature

National Geographic Nature playing cards, 2006. • Sep 10, 2019

Tease Me

‘Tease Me’ 1960s glamour pack. • Aug 25, 2019

Souvenir of Norway

Souvenir of Norway deck. • Aug 16, 2019

Klutz Card Deck

Klutz Card Deck with comic courts. • Aug 04, 2019

Woman’s Hour

The Woman’s Hour playing cards published by David Westnedge, 1996. • Jul 11, 2019

Bicycle Civil War Deck

The Civil War Deck designed by Jackson Robinson, 2017. • Jul 08, 2019

Bicycle Emotions

Bicycle Emotions playing cards with custom emotions on the courts to help you bluff at cards, 2013. • Jul 07, 2019

Alphabetti Spaghetti

Alphabetti Spaghetti Happy Families game for Crosse & Blackwell c.1978. • Jul 03, 2019

Age of Dragons

Age of Dragons by Anne Stokes, 2017. • Jul 01, 2019

Anne Stokes Collection

Anne Stokes Collection playing cards, 2010. • Jun 30, 2019

Piwiarnia Pub in Warsaw

Advertising Deck for the Piwiarnia Pub in Warsaw. • Jun 23, 2019

The Deck of Cards

The Deck of Cards by Andrew Jones Art, 1979. • May 26, 2019

Les Géants d’un Mythe

Les Géants d'un Mythe created by François Poulain and manufactured by Grimaud, 1983. • May 11, 2019

I Can’t Believe It’s Not Butter!

I Can’t Believe It’s Not Butter! promotional playing cards, 1997. • May 10, 2019

Hendrick’s Gin

Nice advertising deck for Hendrick’s Gin, c.2015. • May 03, 2019

Caesars Palace

‘Aristocrat’ Casino Cards with special courts for Caesars Palace by USPCC 2006. • Apr 24, 2019

Tyrolean Playing Cards

Facsimile of patriotic 1878 Tyrolean playing cards published by Piatnik in 1992. • Mar 25, 2019

Harry Potter & the Goblet of Fire

Harry Potter & the Goblet of Fire, 2005. • Mar 24, 2019

New Zealand Souvenir

Souvenir from New Zealand by Croxley (John Dickinson) c.1950. • Mar 19, 2019

Billabong playing cards

Billabong Dual Deck by Hudson Industries, 1950s. • Mar 10, 2019

Chinese Jokers

Chinese playing card makers have probably produced the widest variety of jokers of any single part of the world. • Mar 03, 2019

Ken McCarthy

An unknown deck by Ken McCarthy, c.2018. • Jan 22, 2019

Ocean to Ocean Souvenir of Canada, c.1905

Ocean to Ocean Souvenir of Canada by Chas Goodall & Son Ltd, c.1905. • Dec 10, 2018

Pooltella

Pooltella cards by John Waddington Ltd, the cards that simplify football pool forecasts, 1930s. • Dec 07, 2018

Characters of “The Water Margin”

Characters from the Chinese novel “The Water Margin” - 水滸撲克. • Nov 28, 2018

Les Grandes Figures de L’Histoire Bretonne

Les Grandes Figures de L’Histoire Bretonne • Nov 26, 2018

Hearts of London

Hearts of London for British Heart Foundation 2009. • Oct 31, 2018

Cat Chaos

‘Cat Chaos Celebrity Edition’ card game by Ginger Fox Ltd., 2017. • Oct 15, 2018

Roman Empire

Roman Empire playing cards designed by G. Wyatt for Green Board Game Co Ltd., 2011. • Oct 15, 2018

National Geographic: Weird But True

National Geographic: “Weird But True” kids fun fact playing cards, 2014. • Oct 14, 2018

Red Sea

Red Sea fish identification cards published in several languages by Horus of Egypt, 2005. • Sep 19, 2018

Emoticon

Emoticon playing cards designed by Buy Design Studios, 2016. • Sep 18, 2018