Hotel Lena playing cards were intended as a souvenir for guests at a hotel of the same name in the city of Yakutsk, the capital city of the Sakha Republic, Russia, located about 280 miles south of the Arctic Circle. The pack was published by Bichik in Yakutsk in 2001 and consists of 36 cards (no Jokers). The court cards depict men and women in national costumes. In addition to the usual Russian indexes of K, D and V, the author includes their denomination in Yakut: “Toyon” (“lord”), "Khotun" ("lady") and "Kulut" ("slave"). The “Toyon” king can be distinguished from the "Kulut" jack only by the fact that the Toyun wears a hat.
The Toyon kings in the deck correspond to the heads of the clan, the ladies - to the mistresses, keepers of the family hearth, and Kuluts to the master's servants. The aces depict the towers of the wooden fortress of ancient Yakutsk. The cards of each suit are executed in a different colour scheme: Hearts are shown against a yellow background; Spades against a green background; Diamonds against a pink background and Clubs against a blue background. The pip cards are decorated with images of livestock and utensils: the tens of all four suits show horses; the nines and eights – cows; the sevens and sixes - multi-coloured bowls and cauldrons.
Member since July 27, 2022
I graduated in Russian and East European Studies from Birmingham University in 1969. It was as an undergraduate in Moscow in 1968 that I stumbled upon my first 3 packs of “unusual” playing cards which fired my curiosity and thence my life-long interest. I began researching and collecting cards in the early 1970s, since when I’ve acquired over 3,330 packs of non-standard cards, mainly from North America, UK and Western Europe, and of course from Russia and the former communist countries.
Following my retirement from the Bodleian Library in Dec. 2007 I took up a new role as Head of Library Development at the International Network for the Availability of Scientific Publications (INASP) to support library development in low-income countries. This work necessitated regular training visits to many sub-Saharan African countries and also further afield, to Vietnam, Nepal and Bangladesh – all of which provided rich opportunities to further expand my playing card collection.
Since 2019 I’ve been working part-time in the Bodleian Library where I’ve been cataloguing the bequest of the late Donald Welsh, founder of the English Playing Card Society.
A limited edition art print of the Queen of Clubs 1984 woodblock joker.
A limited edition art print of the Jack of Hearts 1984 woodblock joker.
‘Branle’ playing cards inspired by a 12th-century dance, produced by Noir Arts, USA, 2015.
Characters from the 2007 film Shrek the Third, a DreamWorks Animation production.
Advertising pack designed by James Hodges for a company specialising in regional cakes and biscuits....
Psychedelic designs promoting Louis De Poortere, a company selling carpets and rugs.
On-line offsite data backup publicity playing cards produced by The Bunker, United Kingdom, c. 2004....
Publicity pack for the East German furniture industry, with designs by Werner-Hans Schlegel.
Clamcleats playing cards for sailors designed by Celia Allison, New Zealand, 1986.
Publicity pack for Gibert Jeune, the famous Parisian bookshop, with designs by James Hodges.
A flicker pack with different backs, advertising the Saab 900 Convertible motor car.
Complete contents of a sample book of advertising cards by De La Rue
Costumes des Peuples Étrangers & Jeu d’Or dedicated to young people and likely used for games and fo...
Promotional pack for a German steel hardening business, with designs by Costante Costantini.
Glico Almond Chocolate playing cards with designs by Izumi Tamai, produced by Nintendo, Japan.
Hawaiian playing cards in the style of classic Hawaiian wood carvings, USA, 2015.
Over the years I have collected a large number of mini-booklets and pocket guides offering rules and...
Costumes of people of Brazil, Peru and Mexico, with views of Rio de Janeiro on the aces.
Delightful pack advertising Joseph Bardou & Fils cigarette papers for the Philippines.
Cowboys and American Indians on a pack for Neiman Marcus, the Dallas department store.
Designs by Jürgen Pankarz for the 20th anniversary of the Wolfgang Dorn advertising agency, Cologne....
Theatre of Pain / Teatr boli playing cards depicting politicians and leaders in the Caucasus territo...
Soviet and other Communist celebrities depicted on every card, designed by Vladislav Pankevitch.
Publicity pack for the Danish company, Velux, manufacturers of roof windows and skylights.
African art and symbolism on playing cards designed by John J. Beckvermit III, USA, 1994.
Pacific Northwest native Indian masks with artwork by Margaret Parrott, USA, 1992.
A pack with court cards reflecting different ethnic and cultural groups found in Ethiopia.