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Published July 03, 1996 Updated January 11, 2023

Polish Playing Cards

Poland has been involved in playing card production since the 15th century.

Poland KZWP-Trefl Add to Collection
Skat pack designed by Franciszek Bunsch

Above: Skat pack designed by Franciszek Bunsch in 1963

1972 special Olympics pack

Above: 1972 special Olympics pack

Above: Limited edition 'Cardiology Trials'

Above: Pomorski Poker, 2003

Above: ‘Veto’ Collectible Card Game, 2004

Above: ‘Królewskie’, 2002

Above: ‘Polska’, 2011

Edyta Gdek Tarot

Above: Polish tarot pack designed by Edyta Gdek

See also: Warka Beer    Zarywski    Automotive    Cardiology Trials    ‘Quickie’ Quartet    Disney Collectible Cards    ‘Veto’ Collectible Card Game   Klipp Klapp Karten    North German pattern by KZWP-Trefl for Fortuna Speelkaarten    Bavarian pattern by KZWP-Trefl for InnoCard International.

oland has been involved in playing card production since the 15th century. During the 16th century cards were being made in L'vov (Lemberg), Breslau, Posen, Olkusz and Cracow. In 1507 the German philosopher Thomas Murner published 'Logica Memorativa' in Cracow, in the form of a book illustrated by a series of pictorial playing cards with 16 suits.

Polish cards followed Austro-Hungarian and German models such as Trappola packs, tarots, and more recently imitated the 'Rhineland', 'Baronese', 'Berlin', 'Viennese', 'Lemberg' and 'Prussian' patterns, as well as the Anglo-American. 19th and 20th century Polish manufacturers include J.A. Willink (Warsaw), Pierwsza Gal. Fabr. Kart do Gry and Karpalit S.A. of L'vov, the Cracow Playing Card Factory (1926-1939) and the state-run Krakowskie Zaklady Wyrobów Papierowych (Cracow Factory for Paper Articles, 1947-1997) who became the market leaders in Poland.

From the start, KZWP had strong associations with the Cracow Art College leading to collaboration with designers such as Franciszek Bunsch, Anna Gaber, Maria Orowska-Gabry and more recently Radoslaw Radziejewski and Edyta Gdek. Over the decades KZWP has produced many attractive advertising and decorative non-standard cards. (Click on images to see more). In 1997 KZWP was privatised and re-named Krakowskie Zaklady Wyrobów Papierowych Trefl - Kraków Sp. z.o.o. The company continues to produce the full traditional range of playing cards, games, tarot cards, advertising playing cards and other paper products.


Polish matchbox cards

Above: Polish matchbox cards

Folk Cards for Lot Polish Airlines designed by Krystyna Gruchalska-Bunsch, 1962

Above: Folk Cards for Lot Polish Airlines designed by Krystyna Gruchalska-Bunsch, 1962.


Polish Joker cards by KZWP-Trefl, c.2002

Above: Polish Joker cards by KZWP-Trefl, c.2002


Advertising deck for Specjal beer, KZWP
Gdynia-America Line, c.1958

Above: Gdynia-America Line, c.1958

Battle of Grunwald

Above: Battle of Grunwald, 2011

Relief of Vienna

Above: Relief of Vienna, 1983

“Kasztelańskie” playing cards

Above: “Kasztelańskie”

Jagiellonskie playing cards

Above: Jagiellonskie playing cards.

Anna Gaber playing cards

Above: Anna Gaber playing cards.

Dutch Prison Service playing cards

Above: Dutch Prison Service

Starościanka No.470 playing cards

Above: Starościanka No.470

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1440 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.


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