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Published October 11, 2020 Updated May 01, 2023

Epokha vozrozhdeniya (Age of Enlightenment)

Epokha vozrozhdeniya (Age of Enlightenment): this pack has effectively become the Russian standard.

Russia Charlemagne Patterns and Suit Types Standard Pattern Add to Collection

This pack was designed by Adolf Iosifovich Charlemagne (1826-1901) but it is essentially a remake of the cards which were still used by the Russian card factories to produce the most mass-marketed cards in the 18th and the beginning of the 19th century (see here). This pack has also come to be known as “Atlas” (a name assigned to the cards with Charlemagne’s design). These playing cards were and are still the most popular ones throughout Russia, and have become de facto the standard Russian pack.

The name “Atlas” itself didn’t refer to any sketches or a particular card style, but to the technology of manufacturing. To make cards look better the paper they were printed on was firstly rubbed with talc powder with the help of special talc machines. Made on this type of paper, these cards were not affected by water, slid freely while shuffled, but were more expensive.

Above: cards from a Russian standard pack. Image courtesy Rex Pitts.


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By Rex Pitts (1940-2021)

Member since January 30, 2009

Rex's main interest was in card games, because, he said, they were cheap and easy to get hold of in his early days of collecting. He is well known for his extensive knowledge of Pepys games and his book is on the bookshelves of many.

His other interest was non-standard playing cards. He also had collections of sheet music, music CDs, models of London buses, London Transport timetables and maps and other objects that intrigued him.

Rex had a chequered career at school. He was expelled twice, on one occasion for smoking! Despite this he trained as a radio engineer and worked for the BBC in the World Service.

Later he moved into sales and worked for a firm that made all kinds of packaging, a job he enjoyed until his retirement. He became an expert on boxes and would always investigate those that held his cards. He could always recognize a box made for Pepys, which were the same as those of Alf Cooke’s Universal Playing Card Company, who printed the card games. This interest changed into an ability to make and mend boxes, which he did with great dexterity. He loved this kind of handicraft work.

His dexterity of hand and eye soon led to his making card games of his own design. He spent hours and hours carefully cutting them out and colouring them by hand.


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