The World of Playing Cards Logo
Published December 23, 2020 Updated October 09, 2022

Wrappers

Playing cards were traditionally sold inside paper wrappers, which were usually thrown away.

Reynolds Vigor El León Moguls Navy Sport Ephemera Paper Wrapper Add to Collection

Cardmakers traditionally sold their playing cards inside outer wrappers made of paper. These would usually be discarded once opened and were not expected to be kept. However, some survive, often in a fragile condition, and these paper wrappers are an useful additional source of information, such as manufacturers’ addresses, trade marks or copyright notices, medals won at exhibitions, as well as in certain cases, taxation details or royal patronage. See example here

For this reason, packs still in their original paper wrapper, unopened, are less common. Today’s packs are usually cello-wrapped.

Left & below: cut out wrapper fronts advertising "THE GREAT MOGUL" (c.1830) and "Superior Club House" playing cards (c.1870s) by Reynolds and Sons, 29 & 30 Vere Street, Lincoln's Inn Fields, London. Images courtesy John Sings.


Great Mogul wrapper, Bancks Bros c.1840s
wrapper from Naipes ‘El Leon’ 1897

Above: the wrapper from Naipes ‘El Leon’, Barcelona, 1897. Courtesy Alberto Pérez.


wrapped 'Great Mogul' playing cards manufactured by A. van Genechten

Above: unopened 'Great Mogul' playing cards manufactured by A. van Genechten.

wrapper from Navy's No.50 playing cards manufactured by A. van Genechten

Above: wrapper from 'Navys No.50' playing cards manufactured by A. van Genechten, c.1910.

wrapper from 'Sport No.31' playing cards manufactured by A. van Genechten

Above: wrapper from 'Sport No.31' playing cards manufactured by A. van Genechten, c.1910.


Torcacita playing cards in their original wrapper, sealed with the Internal Revenues tax band, c.1945

Above: Torcacita playing cards in their original wrapper, sealed with the Internal Revenues tax band, c.1945.

Poker Tela de Araña manufactured by Flaiban S.R.L. in c.1949 with 1 Peso tax band

Above: Poker Tela de Araña manufactured by Flaiban S.R.L., Bs Aires in c.1949 with blue 1 Peso tax band around the unopened deck. The ace of hearts shows the tax stamp.


wrapper and 50 Centavos tax band from pack manufactured by Paisanito S.R.L. c.1952-3

Above: wrapper and 50 Centavos tax band from pack manufactured by Paisanito S.R.L. c.1952-3.

Above: Naipes Side Car manufactured by Luis A. Fourvel y Cía, Buenos Aires, c.1950.


Naipes Paisanito, c.1953

Above: Naipes Paisanito, c.1953.

Goodall’s “Historic” Playing Cards, c.1893

Above: Goodall’s “Historic” Playing Cards, c.1893.

Above: detail from the wrapper manufactured by P. Steinmann, Copenhagen, c.1810-20 showing the Royal Monogram of King Frederik V.

wrapper from Cartes La Gazelle, manufactured by Imprimerie de L’Entente, Casablanca

Above: wrapper from Cartes La Gazelle, manufactured by Imprimerie de L’Entente, Casablanca.

wrapper manufactured by Andrew Dougherty for Spanish suited cards with his Centre Street address, c.1882

Above: detail from wrapper manufactured by Andrew Dougherty for Spanish suited cards with his Centre Street address, c.1882.

wrapper from “Questions & Answers” family game produced by Imagerie Pellerin, c.1840

Above: wrapper from “Questions & Answers” family game produced by Imagerie Pellerin, c.1840.


registration document for Naipes Bols including a sample wrapper, Bs Aires, 1955

Above: the registration document for "Naipes Bols" including a sample wrapper, Bs Aires, 1955.


registration document for Naipes Chinita including a sample wrapper, Bs Aires, 1955

Above: the registration document for "Naipes Chinita" including a sample wrapper, Bs Aires, 1955.


Wrapper from “La Amistad” deck produced by Wüst for J. B. David in Cadiz, Spain, c.1880

Above: wrapper from “La Amistad” deck produced by Wüst for J. B. David in Cadiz, Spain, c.1880. Courtesy Alberto Pérez González.


double set of Goodall's “Boudoir” playing cards sealed in the original tax wrappers inside a padded box, c.1930

Above: double set of Goodall's “Boudoir” playing cards sealed in the original tax wrappers inside a padded box, c.1930.

Above: unopened wrapper from the New Bond Fabric Finish Playing Cards made by the Universal Playing Card Co. Ltd., overprinted with the retailer’s stamp “FW Woolworth & Co Ltd”, c.1950s

avatar
1,440 Articles

By Simon Wintle

Member since February 01, 1996

Founder and editor of the World of Playing Cards since 1996. He is a former committee member of the IPCS and was graphics editor of The Playing-Card journal for many years. He has lived at various times in Chile, England and Wales and is currently living in Extremadura, Spain. Simon's first limited edition pack of playing cards was a replica of a seventeenth century traditional English pack, which he produced from woodblocks and stencils.


Related Articles

Woodblock and Stencil Joker

Woodblock and Stencil Joker

A limited edition art print of the 1984 woodblock joker.

Woodblock and Stencil Jack of Clubs

Woodblock and Stencil Jack of Clubs

A limited edition art print of the Jack of Clubs 1984 woodblock joker.

Woodblock and Stencil Queen of Clubs

Woodblock and Stencil Queen of Clubs

A limited edition art print of the Queen of Clubs 1984 woodblock joker.

Woodblock and Stencil Jack of Hearts

Woodblock and Stencil Jack of Hearts

A limited edition art print of the Jack of Hearts 1984 woodblock joker.

1972 Feh Schnapskarten

Feh Schnapskarten

Colourful promotional pack for Feh household and toilet papers.

1987 Sylvanian Families mini playing cards

Sylvanian Families mini playing cards

Miniature cards in sheet form with Sylvanian Families characters on the courts and Jokers.

1996 Papyrus Playing Cards

Papyrus Playing Cards

Papyrus playing cards distributed by Egypt Trade, c.1996.

1967 Linweave Tarot

Linweave Tarot

The Linweave Tarot is actually an elaborate set of paper samples from the Pulp, Paper and Board Divi...

The making of a Bridge or Bézique marker

The making of a Bridge or Bézique marker

This post-mortem was carried out on a Bezique marker which was already falling apart.

1879 Goodall 1879-1880 Sample Book

Goodall 1879-1880 Sample Book

Complete contents of a sample book by Goodall & Sons

Card Game Items and contemporary advertisements

Card Game Items and contemporary advertisements

It is often difficult to identify the origin, manufacturer and date of a card game boxed set and oth...

1926 Will’s Cigarettes and Auction Bridge

Will’s Cigarettes and Auction Bridge

In 1926 Will’s issued a set of 25 cigarette cards on Auction Bridge, presenting a range of hands ill...

A New Look at the Evolution of Whist Markers and Gaming Counters

A New Look at the Evolution of Whist Markers and Gaming Counters

This article aims to illustrate the evolution of whist and gaming counters from the 18th century to ...

Whist marker boxes

Whist marker boxes

The Camden Whist marker was being advertised by Goodall and son in 1872 as a new product.

1900 Bridge Markers and bridge scoring methods

Bridge Markers and bridge scoring methods

Bridge Markers and bridge scoring methods 1900-1930

Mystery Objects

Mystery Objects

I need help in identifying the purpose of this particular piece of card-playing kit.

1880 Joseph Bardou & Fils cigarette papers

Joseph Bardou & Fils cigarette papers

Delightful pack advertising Joseph Bardou & Fils cigarette papers for the Philippines.

2005 Easter Playing Cards

Easter Playing Cards

Egg-shaped cards with rabbit designs in soft, pastel colours for Easter.

Possible early astrological playing cards

Possible early astrological playing cards

Two early woodcuts that I believe to be playing cards.

2005 Sweetnotes playing cards

Sweetnotes playing cards

Heart-shaped cards with sweet notes on all the backs.

1741 Great Mogul Playing Cards

Great Mogul Playing Cards

The origins of the 'Great Mogul' brand playing cards.

1988 Karl Gerich No. 25: “Great Mogul”

Karl Gerich No. 25: “Great Mogul”

'Great Mogul' branded playing cards designed and produced by Karl Gerich.

2022 Wine Labels & Chocolate Biscuits

Wine Labels & Chocolate Biscuits

‘Pinta en Copas’ playing card-themed wine labels sold at Día Supermarkets.

1968 A New Year’s Greeting

A New Year’s Greeting

in the form of playing cards

1912 Kuhn Khan

Kuhn Khan

There is little information available about the early twentieth century card game Kuhn Kahn. It firs...

Poker Patience

Poker Patience

Poker Patience, according to an early 20th century author, was "introduced so recently as the autumn...

Piquet: the game and its artifacts

Piquet: the game and its artifacts

Piquet may be the oldest card game which is still played today with origins going back to early 16th...

Goodall & Son Patience Boxed Sets

Goodall & Son Patience Boxed Sets

Goodall & Son produced a huge variety of Patience Boxed Sets at different times and for different co...

The Evolution of Whist and Bridge Boxed Sets, 1870s – 1930s

The Evolution of Whist and Bridge Boxed Sets, 1870s – 1930s

Boxed sets of cards, markers, scorers and rule booklets have been around for many decades. Some of t...

Bezique Markers, 1860-1960

Bezique Markers, 1860-1960

Bezique is a two-player melding and trick-taking game. Dr. Pole introduced Bezique to England in 186...

1990 Phone and smart cards

Phone and smart cards

Phonecards with playing card designs.

2019 Marie and Laurent’s Wedding

Marie and Laurent’s Wedding

Wedding invitation and thank you card in the form of playing cards. France, 2019.

1911 The Jovial Cards

The Jovial Cards

Publicity items for a group of entertainers, Southend-on-Sea, Essex, UK, 1911.

1930 Dondorf related ephemera

Dondorf related ephemera

A few items used for advertising or displaying Dondorf playing card products.

1910 C.L.Wüst Poster Stamps

C.L.Wüst Poster Stamps

A set of advertising poster stamps for C.L.Wüst playing cards.

Happy Playing Cards

Happy Playing Cards

Cheerful, colourful designs on handmade paper from Nepal.

2000 Handmade playing cards

Handmade playing cards

Non-standard designs on Nepalese handmade paper for Pilgrims Book House, Kathmandu, Nepal, c.2000.

Hall & Son

Hall & Son

Hall & Son

1850 Fortune-Telling Cards

Fortune-Telling Cards

Comic Fortune-Telling Cards published by Reynolds & Sons, c.1850.

1850 Comic Question & Answer cards

Comic Question & Answer cards

Comic Question & Answer cards by Josh. Reynolds & Sons, circa 1850.

Wrappers

Wrappers

Playing cards were traditionally sold inside paper wrappers, which were usually thrown away.

1932 Leather Card Case Patent Application

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 ...

Patience Cards and their Boxes

Patience Cards and their Boxes

Patience Cards and their Boxes by Tony Hall.

1960 Cigar Bands

Cigar Bands

A collection of 24 cigar bands with miniature playing cards.